Archaeologists excavating at the site of the ancient city of Rhodiapolis, located in the Kumluca district of present-day Antalya, have uncovered a series of Lycian-era tombs.
Rhodiapolis excavation leader and Akdeniz University archaeologist Dr. İsa Kızgut told the Anatolia news agency last week that his team had uncovered what he believes to be a Lycian cemetery complex that dates to roughly 300 B.C.
The complex, explained Kızgut, was a series of tombs that surrounded a larger necropolis in ancient times. Today, although the necropolis and most of the tombs have been destroyed over the centuries, Kızgut says that the tombs they have so far uncovered will serve as key examples of the often elaborate style of tomb architecture found in Lycian Anatolia.
Kızgut believes the tombs grew incrementally, expanding in width and height over multiple generations. "When another person was buried in the tomb, they were buried ... on top [of other graves in] the tomb." Kızgut said, explaining that the large two to three-story structures were often the result of such additions. "The structures were made of brick and topped with arched roofs. We believe these characteristics are rooted in the cultural heritage of Pisidia," Kızgut added, referring to a mountain region located north of Lycia in ancient times.
Kumluca District Mayor Hüsamettin Çetinkaya voiced his own excitement over the discovery of the necropolis to Anatolia, stating in an interview that "when we began to uncover and analyze the tombs, it was truly impossible not to experience wonder over the architecture and construction of these complexes." Çetinkaya indicated that work on the site will continue in the coming years, but he added there is a strong possibility that sections of the site could be opened to visitors next year.