Mother and son dedicated keepers of ancient Anavarza
ADANA – Anadolu Agency
Dilci, 79, who started working as a guard with her husband in 1969 and retired in 2003, is proud her son maintains her fight against treasure hunters in the ancient city, located in the southern province of Adana.
Dilci continued working after her husband’s death and preserved many artifacts, which she retrieved from treasure hunters, in the garden of her house in the ancient city with the permission of the Adana Museum Directorate. She is now doing her best to help her 54-year-old son.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Dilci said when farming the land in 1969, she and her husband found a mosaic and informed the museum. She said the museum officials came to the Kozan district and examined the mosaic, adding the museum director had then employed them as a guard in the ancient city.
“I used to look at the face of the king’s daughter mosaic every morning when I woke up. I had a gun, scaring everyone when I walked. I managed the huge [ancient city of] Anavarza for 34 years. I did not let anyone touch even a stone,” she said.
Dilci said many treasure hunters were caught thanks to her and most of them were arrested.
She said she preserved many Roman-era archaeological artifacts including tombs, sculpture, column headings and relievos.
“They demolished the historical walls and carried them to other villages. I was brave; I used to draw my gun or inform the gendarmerie if they smuggled something to other villages. I have retrieved many historical stones from them.”
Dilci said she cried when mosaics in her garden were taken to the museum.
“Now, my son is protecting the ancient city. He is good at it but he cannot be as good as I was. I did not even think of death,” she added.
‘My mother is a legend’
Yaşar Dilci said the “historical duty” has been passed on to him from his mother. “I spent my childhood here. My mother is a legend and I cannot be like her. I dote on this place; I help visitors and give no respite to treasure hunters,” he said.
Dilci said his mother had a certificate of merit. “We want to follow in her footsteps. We stroll around the ancient site and go to the castle night and day. I like my job and always exchange ideas with my mother,” he said.
The Adana Museum Director Nedim Dervişoğlu said the duty had been maintained by the Dilci family successfully for a long time.
Dervişoğlu said the immovable cultural assets were displayed in their own place.
“In the contrary case, they are transferred to the museum with the council’s decision. Last year, we identified tarnishing on the mosaics in Dilci’s garden. We carried them to the museum and put them on display after finishing their conservation,” said the museum director.