Works underway to unearth ancient city in southern Turkey

Works underway to unearth ancient city in southern Turkey

Works underway to unearth ancient city in southern Turkey

Excavations around a Christian cave church in southern Turkey are underway in a bid to demystify a long period going back to 300 B.C., when the ancient city of Antioch was founded.

In 2012, local authorities decided to build a reception center for the St. Pierre Church near Necmi Asfuroğlu Archeology Museum in the southern province of Hatay, which hosted many civilizations in the past and is known as the “city of coexistence.”

Upon the discovery of architectural remains during the drilling work in the area, teams decided to turn the ongoing work into a salvage excavation.

Excavations have been initiated in the area in August with a team of 16 people under the coordination of the Hatay Archeology Museum.

An olive crushing stone, which is believed to belong to the 5th and 6th centuries A.D., a warehouse, a workshop, sales areas, and a water system were found during the excavations.

Some 37 single-handled pitchers and other pieces discovered have been preserved meticulously in the laboratory of the Hatay Archeology Museum.

Authorities aim to reveal the commercial life and architecture of the Antioch ancient city and open the region to visitors as an open-air museum after the excavation work is completed.

“Our aim is to reveal the residential area in the region. Ancient sources mention a forum, an area where people shop, built by Emperor Valens in this region in the late Roman period,” Ayşe Ersoy, director of Hatay Archeology Museum, told state-run Anadolu Agency.

The site was also home to state institutions, an agora, a parliament building, and bathhouses, she added.