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Ancient Greek Mosaics Unearthed in Turkey


hadrianopolis ancient greek city abandoned
Hadrianopolis, an ancient Greek city in Asia Minor, was mysteriously abandoned. Credit: Carole Raddato/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Archeologists have unearthed new mosaics during the ongoing excavations in the Ancient Greek city of Hadrianopolis, founded in the 1st century B. C.

Once called the “Zeugma of the Black Sea” Hadrianopolis is located in the Eskipazar district of the Black Sea province of Karabuk, Turkey. Historians believe it used to be a settlement area in the late Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine times until the 8th century A.D.

The site has had active excavations operating since 2003. The mosaics recently excavated depict animal figures such as horses, elephants, panthers, deer, and griffons. Also noteworthy is the Ancient Greek writing at top of some mosaics. The mosaics discovered are in very good condition, but have suffered some damage according to sources.

Ersin Celikbas, an associate professor from Karabük University’s Archaeology Department, highlighted the beauty and importance of the mosaics.

“Particularly, bird figures are striking in the mosaics. There is an amphora and there is a fruit basket made in a style we have not seen before. Pears and grapes were embroidered on the fruit basket, and pomegranate was added next to it.” Celikbas says.

“The fruit basket is decorated like a still life painting. With this feature, we can say that an important scene has been added to Hadrianopolis’ mosaic collection.”

Numerous important findings uncovered in Hadrianopolis

Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonien
Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonien. Credit: Ingeborg Simon/ wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 3.0

In September, archeologists uncovered an inscription addressing Asclepios, the Ancient Greek god of medicine. They also found an ancient hospital in the region. This means that the area could have been for military purposes due to the finding of an iron mask belonging to a Roman soldier.

Surface surveys have revealed 14 public buildings and other structures in Hadrianopolis so far. Among these public buildings are two baths, two churches, a defense structure and  rock tombs. In addition, there is a theatre, an arched and domed structure and a monumental cultic niche. Archeologists discovered  walls, a villa, other monumental buildings, and some religious buildings as well.

There is an almost uncountable number of ancient Greek and Byzantine archaeological and historical sites in Turkey, many of which attract hundreds of thousands, even millions, of visitors every year.

Travellers to Turkey should not miss any of them are landmarks. Greeks in particular should visit as the mosaics provide incontrovertible evidence of their long, rich history and contributions to Western civilisation.

The Zeugma of the Black Sea

Excavations in Hadrianopolis began in 2003 and according toAnadolu Agency (AA), Sinan Ekici, a member of the excavation team, the work has continued year-round at the location.

“We are unearthing the walls of a Roman castle now. There is a new structure inside the castle that we started to excavate this year …The mosaics show that it was a beautiful building,” he furthermore confirmed.

It also seems that the team expects to uncover even more. “It is only a matter of time before new mosaics are discovered. After taking the needed measures, we will open the mosaics for tourism,”  Ekici added.

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