World Bulletin/News Desk
Excavations in a field in Milas, a district of the southwestern province of Mugla, has uncovered mosaic tiles belonging to the Roman era.
The excavations began after the Milas Gendarmerie Command raided a store in Milas upon a tip-off and found five Roman-era pots there. Also, three unregistered rifles, one unregistered handgun and fireworks were seized in the raid. Two suspects were taken into custody.
An excavation team then started working in the field where the two suspects reportedly said they had found the pots. Excavations unearthed mosaic tiles one meter below the surface. The excavations at the field continue.
Milas District Governor Bahattin Atçı, gendarmerie Lt. Col. Ertuğrul Memiş and gendarmerie Lt. Gürkan Uygun held a press conference on Friday about the findings. Atçı said he believes the newly found tiles will significantly contribute to Turkey's cultural wealth. “We already knew that there were very precious historical artifacts in the region. We need to focus more on unearthing them,” he said.
Atçı noted that the mosaic tiles that have been found might be as valuable as ones found in the ancient city of Zeugma in the southern province of Gaziantep. Zeugma is one of the four most important historical settlements under the reign of the Kingdom of Commagene.
The district governor said he hopes the artifacts draw archeologists' attention to the region. He also stressed that they are also trying to increase intelligence activities and operations against illegal excavations and called on locals to inform the authorities if they know anything about any illegal excavation.
Last year, a 2,000-year-old relief bust of a king was discovered during excavations in the ancient city of Stratonikeia -- where the largest gymnasium in Anatolia and a gladiator graveyard are located -- in Muğla's Yatağan district. The bust, which is one-and-a-half meters tall and nearly two meters wide, features depictions of bull heads and the figure of a goddess.
Archaeologists have re-launched an excavation project in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, which is located in the southwestern province of Muğla, where many artifacts have been unearthed since the work first began in 2008.
Stratonikeia, which is situated in the present day village of Eskihisar and often referred to by archaeologists as the world's largest city built entirely of marble, is also known as an ancient city of great warriors. Many gladiator gravestones have been found there, including those belonging to famous fighters such as Droseros, who was killed by Achilles, as well as Vitalius, Eumelus, Amaraios, Khrysopteros and Khrysos.
The excavations are being carried out by the archaeology department at Denizli's Pamukkale University and are headed by Professor Bilal Söğüt. Söğüt told the Anatolia news agency that they uncovered 702 historical artifacts in 2012 and have now resumed work for the next six months with a team of 100 people. Söğüt further stated that they have applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for Stratonikeia to be put on the World Heritage List.
To date the largest gymnasium in Anatolia, a basilica, a necropolis and the fortification walls have been restored. The original 10-meter-high columns on Stratonikeia's main street have also been re-erected.