Ancient city comes to light as water recedes
The ancient city of Augusta, founded by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, was flooded by the Seyhan Dam Lake in 1955.
A part of the ancient city, located close to the Karaömerli neighborhood of the central Sarıçam district, became visible with the decrease in the water level in the lake.
Fatih Erhan, a lecturer at the Osmaniye Korkut Ata University’s Department of Archaeology, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that Augusta was founded in the first century A.D.
Stating that researchers who visited the region in the 18th and 19th centuries made great efforts to find the lost ancient city, Erhan said: “In the 1950s, the remains were discovered by an American engineer working in the construction of the Seyhan Dam Lake. The American engineer informed a British researcher who was working in the ancient city of Anavarza at that time. He recorded the ruins in the city by drawing and photographing it during a daily visit in 1955.”
Noting that the British researcher published this study in his article titled “Augusta in Cilicia” in 1956, Erhan said: “Before the impoundment of water in the Seyhan Dam Lake, on Sept. 19, 1955, architect-archaeologist Mahmut Akok and his team came to the city and a short-term excavation was carried out. The excavation took 10 days. During the excavations, the monumental structures of the city were partially unearthed. Augusta looks like a typical Roman city with its colonnaded streets and theater. The sitting steps of the theater emerge when the waters recede in the dam. It is possible to understand how big the city is by looking at these steps. All of the monumental structures of the ancient city are underwater for nine months of the year. Only some ruins can be seen beyond the hills.”
Stating that it is possible to see the sitting steps of the theater when the water recedes in the autumn months, Erhan said, “It is also possible to see the remains of ceramic and architectural stone blocks from that period in the area right next to the dam waters.”