Hidden history revealed in Ermenek
KARAMAN - Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosBest known for coal, the ground beneath the southern Anatolian district of Ermenek is continuing to reveal priceless artifacts from humanity’s prehistoric era, as well as more recent ancient civilizations.
Ermenek Mayor Uğur Sözkesen said the district in the Taurus and its vicinity had been a settlement for people since prehistoric ages thanks to its geographical features that enabled inhabitants to shelter and hunt.
Historical artifacts that have been unearthed during excavations suggested that the city had a history of 4,500-5,000 years, said Sözkesen. “It has seen the traces of the Hittites, Akas, Babels, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Turks. All these traces can be seen clearly without much effort. It is also possible to find unknown sites and remains in the region.”
The mayor said that as part of the work initiated to unearth the historical artifacts in Ermenek, excavations had started this year in three spots under the consultancy of the Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey University (KMU) Archaeology Department.
“One of these excavations is the Germanicopolis excavation. This is a graveyard on the skirts of the Firan Castle in the district. The rock tombs here date back to the third century B.C. We believe that that there were tombs from notable people in the area. Lots of findings here have shed light on the unknown pages of history. After being registered by the Karaman Museum Directorate, the findings were collected by Burdur University for examination. Mass graves have been found. Eight-10 people are buried in a single grave.”
Sözkesen said that besides the Firan Castle, there were also Asar and Mennan castles, overlooking the Ermenek Valley. “Work will be carried out in these castles. When the work is done, the district will become a tourism center.”
Rock tombs in Sibide
The Karaman Museum director and head of the excavations, Abdülbari Yıldız, said works had been continuing in Yukarıçağlar and Gökçeseki, as well as the city center, that had revealed necropolis areas in three spots.
Yıldız said they had found many burial chambers carved in rocks and sarcophagus covers through the slope in the ancient city of Sibide in Yukarıçağlar.
“Some of the rock tombs have figures that are roughly processed. A marble sarcophagus from the third century B.C. has been unearthed. The sarcophagus was damaged in the ancient age. It has an inscription on its front façade and wreath on both its sides. We expect to find other sarcophagi like this,” he said.
Yıldız said they had also found exciting artifacts during excavations in Gökçeseki. “We have found eight Roman-era marble sarcophagi on a three-ladder platform. In the southern part of the area, ceramic garbage was uncovered. Here, there were lots of broken ceramics and glasses as well as nine busts of emperors and senators made of limestone. We think that this was a place where gifts were collected during visits to graveyards. It is possible to find ancient-era garbage in excavations.”