Ancient athletes’ tools unearthed in Çanakkale

Ancient athletes’ tools unearthed in Çanakkale

ÇANAKKALE – Anadolu Agency
Ancient athletes’ tools unearthed in Çanakkale

A rare find of special bronze tools, which belonged to athletes dating back 2,000 years, has turned up in northwestern Turkey. 

The crescent-shaped tools, called strigils, found in the ancient city of Assos, were used by ancient athletes to clean themselves of a kind of Hellenistic sunscreen, said Nurettin Arslan, a member of the excavation team. 

“Sunscreen was not like today, so they protected their skin from the sun using olive oil,” said Arslan, who heads the Archeology Department at Onsekiz Mart University in Çanakkale

“After sports, they had to find a way to clean the olive oil from their bodies. Since there was no soap or other cleansing agents, they sifted fine grains of sand on their bodies and removed the sand, which absorbed the oil, from their bodies using the strigils,” he said.

Some of the strigils found were iron, but most were made of bronze, he added, explaining that ancient Greeks and Romans were known for being avid athletes. 

The excavations have been very fruitful, and included graveyards, he said. The presence of strigils in a grave shows the person was an athlete.

The excavation of the city is being carried out with financial support from the Culture and Tourism Ministry, with Turkish heavy industries firm İÇDAŞ as the main sponsor.