Head of Eros reunites with its sarcophagus
Discovered 140 years ago and taken to England from Türkiye, the Eros Head was put in its place at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum as a result of the initiatives of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The artifact, which was brought to Türkiye on June 10, was reunited with the historical Sidamara Sarcophagus to which it belonged.
The Sidamara Sarcophagus is considered one of the largest sarcophagi of the ancient world. The sarcophagus, which is weighing tons, was discovered in 1882 in the ancient city of Sidamara in Ambar Village of the Central Anatolian province of Karaman by British Military Consul General Charles Wilson. The sarcophagus was buried under the ground again because it was too heavy to be carried. Sometime later it was understood that it was “Eros Head,” one of the reliefs separated from the sarcophagus, that had been taken to London.
The sarcophagus, which was rediscovered by a villager in the ancient city of Sidamara in 1898, was reported to the Müze-i Hümayun, which is now the Istanbul Archeology Museum.
As a result of the Ottoman archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey’s investigations in the region, the giant sarcophagus was decided to be moved to the museum in Istanbul. Then it was carried to the center by buffaloes under the conditions of the time.
The magnificent work, which made a grueling journey in specially arranged train wagons, reached the Istanbul Archaeology Museum in 1901.
The “Eros Head” relief in London was donated by Marion Olivia Wilson to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1933 in memory of her father, Charles Wilson. A plaster copy of the Eros Head was placed in the giant sarcophagus in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum as a result of the negotiations with the Victoria & Albert Museum officials in the 1930s.
With the research of archaeologist Şehrazat Karagöz, who brought the issue back to the agenda in 2010, the Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Foreign Ministry made talks with the Victoria & Albert Museum for the display of the Eros Head to be exhibited together with its sarcophagus.
As a result of the meetings between the ministry and the Victoria & Albert Museum Director Tristram Hunt and his team, the Eros Head was reunited with the sarcophagus. The Eros Head was transported from London to Türkiye on 10 June with the support of the Foreign Ministry and Turkish Airlines (THY).
With scientific studies jointly carried out by the expert restorers of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Eros Head was placed in the giant sarcophagus, which weighs more than 30 tons.
The columned sarcophagus, dating back to 250 B.C. in the Roman era, is now open to visitors in its original form at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum today.