Tombs in ‘city of gladiators’ to open to visitors
An ancient city in western Turkey will showcase tombs and sarcophagi unearthed from one of the largest marble cities of the world.
The ongoing excavations in the ancient city of Stratonikeia in Yatağan, in the Aegean province of Muğla, reveal new historical artifacts as part of the project launched by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry on March 1.
The project allows excavation works to be carried out incessantly for a 12-month period and supports the ongoing efforts with additional experts and personnel.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Bilal Söğüt, head of the Stratonikeia excavations, said that many findings dating back to some 3,500 years ago were discovered in the ancient city, which hosted many historical civilizations.
Also known as the “city of gladiators,” the historical site was important in the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantium and Anatolian periods as well as the Ottoman and Turkish Republic eras.
Söğüt said that the excavation team found a wall of a tomb and a sarcophagus belonging to Roman Era and the findings are taken under protection.
“We [with Mugla Museum] initiated a work to display the tomb and sarcophagi, which can be carried from its place, at the entrance of the city by the board decision,” he said, adding that there were samples that could go back to some 4,500 years ago.
“We are fulfilling a very important project that will set an example for Muğla,” he said.
They have already placed gladiator graves at the entrance of the ancient city, Söğüt said, adding that there will be Turkish and English labels describing the pieces.
He said that the graves would be classified according to the era they belong to — starting from the Bronze Age (3,000 B.C.) — and added that the ones that will be displayed are the ones that cannot be protected in its original place.
The ancient city of Stratonikeia was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2015.
Söğüt said the excavations feed them with new information every year, and the project will pave way for unearthing archeological values and finding important data.
Stratonikeia is located within the borders of the village of Eskihisar, seven kilometers west of Yatağan. It lies on Kadıkule Hill in the west of the fertile Yatağan Plain at the crossroads of the main routes that connect western, central and southern Anatolia with each other.
The city continuously developed during the Classic, Hellenistic and Roman Imperial periods and gradually became a center of trade, art and culture. Today it is a significant and unique example as a settlement that keeps the characteristics of culture of different civilizations, succeeds to preserve its main structure and shows an entirety.