Child grave with bracelets and gifts found in ancient city
A furnace for commercial production and a child’s grave with glass bracelets and gifts inside have been found for the first time during this year’s excavations in the ancient city of Kelenderis, established on the Mediterranean coast in the southern province of Mersin 2,800 years ago.
Located next to a fisherman’s shelter in the Aydıncık district on the Mersin-Antalya highway, the excavation and restoration/conservation works started in 1987 in the ancient city of Kelenderis and have been ongoing for 35 years uninterruptedly.
For the first time, the skeleton of a child, who was buried with four solid glass bracelets on his arm, gifts, clothes and a wooden coffin, has been unearthed in the ancient city, where nearly 150 tombs have also been found around the Odeon over the last 35 years. In addition, during the excavations conducted in the region, a furnace, which is thought to be used for tile production, was unearthed for the first time, documenting commercial production.
Speaking about the exciting discovery, the head of the excavations Mahmut Aydın said, “Excavations continue for 12 months of the year in the ancient city of Kelenderis. This year, we have completed the excavation and consolidation of the caves, the sitting area, and the supporting walls behind the Odeon structure. Now we found a furnace that excites us. We knew for years that there was production here, but we couldn’t find the oven. The oven is 1,300 years old. We think that roof tiles were produced inside the furnace. Because during the excavations we carried out last year and this year, a large amount of roof tiles, dated to the seventh century, were found around the furnace. Since the roof tiles were faulty, we found them scattered around it. When we completely empty the inside of the furnace, we might find even more faulty roof tiles.”
Speaking about the child’s grave, Aydın said, “We have previously uncovered nearly 150 tombs here, but none of them had burial gifts. In this one, we uncovered four glass bracelets, an inscription on a ceramic piece and a cup. This was a first. At the same time, there were several baby graves around this child’s grave. We understand from here that a part of the Odeon was used as a children’s burial area. When the carbon 14 analysis results come, we will be able to identify them more clearly. But we believe that this area was used as a burial area in the Middle Ages. As it is different from other burials, we will only be able to determine exactly when the child died with carbon 14 analysis.”