Traces of war found in ancient Lydian city Sardis

Traces of war found in ancient Lydian city Sardis

Traces of war found in ancient Lydian city Sardis

Military equipment has been unearthed in the ancient city of Sardis in the western province of Manisa’s Salihli district. Officials believe they might have been used in an ancient war between the Lydians and the Persians. 

The ancient city of Sardis, which was the capital of the Lydian Kingdom in the ancient ages and had been home to many civilizations from seventh B.C. to seventh A.D., is now undergoing excavation works. This year’s works continue in an area called the “Palace” region. 

The ancient city of Sardis is also the first place where coins were minted and is home to one of the Seven Churches of Christianity. 

The military equipment is believed to have been used in the war that caused the end of the Lydian Kingdom in 546 B.C. 

Speaking about the excavations, the head of Sardis excavations, Professor Nicholas Dunlop, said, “This season we continue working inside the terrace walls in the area called the Palace region. We want to examine closely the structures of the terrace walls. Last year we were surprised during the works on the terrace walls. We found a level from the Bronze Age. We made excavations three meters deep at this level. Now our goal is to work in 10 meters depth.” 

Dunlop said that last year’s excavations revealed extraordinary artifacts that did not belong to the mentioned period, such as a military shield, a piece of ivory from a furniture and stone seal. 

“These pieces make our predictions stronger that this area was the field of a palace. We also found pots, cooking bowls and a piece of floor. We found three arrowheads in this floor. These arrowheads might be from the last big war, which occurred between Kroisos and Cyrus. Nearly 40-50 arrowheads have so far been found in different fields during excavations at different times,” he said.

Güzin Ersen, a doctorate student at Boston University’s archaeology department, said, “Currently we are continuing to work at the structures kings built to represent their own power. The huge terrace walls were built to support the monumental structures. We are talking about very big structures. They were made of 3x1-meter stones. This terrace wall goes as far as 50 meters. This was a big investment in the past. The state and the kings made these structures to show their own power.” 

The war materials in the ancient city are expected to shed light on the collapse of the Lydian civilization after the Persians seized Sardis at the end of the 14th day of the war and plundered it.


Situated in the area of Sart in the Salihli district, Sardis was home to many civilizations between seventh century B.C. and the early Byzantine era. 

The city became rich thanks to agriculture, stockbreeding, trade and gold mining. 

Sardis was also one of the Seven Churches of Revelation that played an important role in the growth of Christianity. Artifacts that have been unearthed there are now displayed at Manisa Museum.