Artifacts recover in stone hospital
Hundreds of historical artifacts unearthed in the 3,000-year-old ancient city of Stratonikeia in the western province of Muğla’s Yatağan district are being restored in a field called “stone hospital.”
Excavations and rescue works have been ongoing in the ancient city of Stratonikeia in the Eskihisar neighborhood.
Works have also been continuing in the city’s other Seljuk- and Ottoman-era structures including a Seljuk bath, the Şaban Ağa Mosque and Billa House.
Damaged stone artifacts found during works are being restored to their original state in the stone hospital.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the head of the Stratonikeia excavations, Bilal Söğüt, said a team of experts made up of archaeologists, conservators and restorers are working hard in a field they call the stone hospital.
He said the artifacts in the ancient city, where settlement continued since the Hellenistic era, were carried to the stone hospital and restored.
Söğüt said the stone hospital was very important for Stratonikeia because “here we can treat everything related to the stone, from the base of a column to steles and friezes. All broken stones from the ancient times can be restored.”
The team, Söğüt said, started working after determining the period of the artifacts.
“The treatment of the artifacts depends on their size and the damage they have. For example, an artifact broken into 50 pieces can be restored in 10 days. Like bone fractures in a human body, if there is only one fracture in the human body, it can be treated with a single operation, but in multiple fractures this process is done in stages. What we do is like this,” Söğüt said.
Noting that the process applied to the stone was not limited to the work done in the stone hospital, Söğüt said:
“After the treatments in the stone hospital, if there is no concern that the original place of the artifact can harm the artifact, we put it there again.”
“When we restore the body of a column, we put it in its original place. But when we restore the head of the column we wait for the completion of the treatment of the column. At this point, we prevent the destruction of the restored artifacts,” he added.
He stressed the artifacts unearthed would shed light on various periods.
“We do not replace every piece of artifacts taken from the city. For example, if the work has a relief, we keep it in the excavation house. If we find a sculpture in the excavations, it gets delivered to the Muğla Museum at the end of the year after the treatment. We deliver all artifacts that can be displayed to the museum too. We keep architectural artifacts here. But the copies of the artifacts that will be sent to the museum are sometimes exhibited here,” he said.