Ongoing excavations at Patara telegraph station reveal new facts
Excavations ongoing at a radiotelegraph station in the ancient city of Patara, located in the southern province of Antalya’s Kaş district, continue to excite the world of archaeology.
Excavations that have been initiated recently at a radiotelegraph station in the ancient city of Patara, known as the capital of the Lycian Union, unearthed materials that shed light on the technology used and living conditions of employees who once worked at the station.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the head of the Patara excavations, Professor Havva İşkan Işık said that the structure, which was built by Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1906 to establish contact with the Ottoman lands in North Africa, has the characteristics of a large complex with its engine room, lodgings, warehouses and four radio masts.
Noting that a direct connection could have been established with Africa thanks to the station in Patara and the station established in Derne (in today’s Libya), which is 850 kilometers away, like today’s mobile phones, Işık said that the station was the work of the visionary perspective of Sultan Abdulhamid II.
Stating that the structure sheds light on Turkey’s near history, Işık said, “This is the first wireless telegraph station of the Ottoman Empire.”
Explaining that they started the works to turn the station into a museum after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared 2020 as the “Year of Patara,” Işık said they started excavations three weeks ago in the engine room, which was shown as the heart of the station.
Stating that the findings in the excavations excited the excavation team and the scientific world, Işık said: “We found two types of bullet casings. Bullets were produced by an Italian company for the Italian army. The radiotelegraph station was attacked by the Italians on April 19, 1912. We found bullets from that attack at the station.”
“Another important find is a package seal. It writes the Ottoman State Post on it. We found the machine parts. The name of the world-famous technology company that established the station at that time is written on it,” she added.
Speaking about the findings belonging to employees who once worked at the station, Işık said, “We found medicine bottles used by employees at the station. Since Patara was a swamp at that time, drugs were very important to prevent epidemics. During our short excavations, we also found various items such as water filter devices. The finds enabled us to get more information about the lives of the employees at that time. The findings here are related to the technology used at that time.”
Noting that their goal is to finish the restoration work by the end of the year, Işık said that the structure would be redesigned as a museum, and the finds would be exhibited there.