Excavations set to verify myths on Giresun island

Excavations set to verify myths on Giresun island

Excavations set to verify myths on Giresun island

Archaeological excavations that have been continuing sporadically on the Giresun (Aretias) island since 2011 will restart soon. The island is the only inhabited island in the Eastern Black Sea region. 

The island, which is known for the ancient Amazon women as well as the myth that Hercules came to the island to look for the Golden Fleece, underwent archaeological excavations in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016. 

The examinations on the Byzantine-era tombs, walls, the ruins of a monastery and a chapel that have been unearthed during excavations show that the island served as a religious center for many years. 

Giresun Museum Director Hulusi Güleç said only 10 percent of the island has been excavated so far but they aim to work in every part of the island starting from this year. 

Güleç said excavations are planned to start in the last week of June and the Special Provincial Administration had provided the allocation. 

He said the earliest ruins on the island date back to the 4th century B.C. but the team has unearthed traces of life from 2,000 B.C.

“We have not reached concrete evidence about it yet. Now we plan to find them during the next excavations on the whole island. We aim to find out whether people lived on Giresun island thousands of years ago,” Güleç added. 

Amazons and the Golden Fleece

“Many mythological sources refer to the fact that the Amazon women lived on an island in the Black Sea. Especially, the existence of the Amazons in the Balck Sea is known. Mythological resources document that the Amazons left for the Trojan War over the Black Sea and lived on an island. The only island in the Eastern Black Sea region is in Giresun. It proves that the Amazons lived on the Giresun Island,” Güleç said. 

Güleç said a number of spearheads and arrow heads have been found during excavations that may be linked to the Amazons. 

“Another myth about the Giresun island is the Golden Fleece of Heracles. It is said that Heracles came to Giresun island to look for the Golden Fleece, the fleece of a gold-haired winged ram. But he could not find it and moved on his way. We have so far found some findings about it but they are not clear yet,” he said. 

Güleç added that the upcoming excavations will hopefully verify the myths with new findings during further excavations.