Ancient city of Dara once served as center of olive trade

Ancient city of Dara once served as center of olive trade

Ancient city of Dara once served as center of olive trade

New findings that have been unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Dara in the southeastern province of Mardin reveal that the historical site had been an important olive production and trade center.

“Olive crusher has been found during the works. The newly found cylindrical olive crusher shows that this place was an olive production place and a trade center in the 6th century,” said the head of the excavations, Kafkas University archaeology academic Professor Hüseyin Metin.

Excavations in the 5,000-year-old ancient city of Dara, located in the city’s Oğuz district, 30 kilometers from the city center, have been carried out with the support of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums, the Turkish Historical Society, Dicle Development Agency, Mardin Governor’s Office and the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality.

Metin said the finds belonging to the civil structures showed that the civil structure of Dara was a very strong garrison city. “This find here is very important in this respect,” he added.

Pointing out that when the city’s agora was under construction, Metin said a shop-like production was made first.

“At the time, there were various display materials here. After the 6th century, there were some changes in these products, and some production materials were developed. This is how we can interpret the cylindrical olive crushing machine we found here. We can also connect this to the present. Because, as we know today, Dara is in a region where there is quite olive production,” he said.

“But there is an example of this in the past. Olives were brought here and broken, and then, packed in a sack, they were transferred to the crushing section. In other words, there was a fabrication production here. It also proves that this place was a center. There are cracks in some parts of the find, the stone olive crusher. After repairing these cracks, we will have a lot of materials regarding daily life that we can display with the promotional signs next year,” he added.

Excavations and research have been carried out for 34 years in the ancient city of Dara, founded by the Eastern Roman Empire in order to protect their border against the Sasanian or Neo-Persian Empire.

The ruins, featuring ancient rock tombs dating back to the fifth century A.D., have been compared to the famed city of Ephesus in Aegean Turkey, giving it the nickname the “Ephesus of Mesopotamia.”

An important settlement along the famed Silk Road, the city served as the last stronghold of the Byzantine Empire in southeastern Anatolia.

The necropolis (city of the dead), where religious ceremonies were held during the Roman era and hundreds of people were buried together, is one of the most popular spots in the ancient site.