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1,700-year-old jewels uncovered in Ephesus

Posted on 14 February 2011

Date: 30/10/2008
1,700-year-old jewels uncovered in Ephesus

A tomb featuring intricate mosaics has been found in the archaeologically rich Selçuk district of Izmir. Archaeologists uncovered 55 skeletons buried in five graves and 18 pieces of delicate 1,700-year-old golden jewelry.

Austrian Archaeological Committee President Sabine Ladstatter said they found a variety of objects, including silk clothes with golden threads, but that the jewels in particular were a big surprise.

“The uncovered pieces have meticulous details so these graves surely belonged to upper-class people in Ephesus,” she said.

A ring made of onyx stone on which the image of Artemis was meticulously carved and the details of which can only be seen with a magnifying glass was the most attractive piece, Ladstatter said, adding that the pieces they found showed the highly developed industry of the time.

Precautions taken against illegal excavations

Saying illegal excavations were the biggest problem they faced, Ladstatter said they knew graves had been plundered throughout history so it was surprising that they were still able to find precious pieces.

They even witnessed the pieces found during illegal excavations put up for auction on the Internet, she said, adding that the Culture and Tourism Ministry needed to give priority to excavations around the necropolis area in order to prevent the plundering and illegal excavations.

Excavation season

The excavations they had conducted at eight points had come to an end for the season, though the restoration and geophysical analysis would continue, Ladstatter said, adding that 166 scientists took part in this year’s excavations, including Austrians, Turks and Germans.

“We have had a very successful year,” said Ladstatter, adding that they reached very important findings, especially in the necropolis and Çukuriçihöyük excavations. The Çukuriçihöyük excavations offered critical hints about the early Bronze and Aegean Neolithic eras, said Ladstatter, underlining that the fish and seashells around the uncovered houses and fireplaces suggested that this area was located at the edge of the sea in 3,000 B.C.

The Ephesus excavations representative of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Dr. Soner Atesogullari, also said they held a productive session regarding Aegean prehistory and relations between the Aegean and Anatolia. Saying the tomb reflected the development level of the era in terms of architecture and jewelry and that it was an important part of culture history, Atesogullari said they concluded that the older skeletons were Pagan while the subsequent ones were Christian.

“We are interested in the qualities of the objects rather than finding gold,” he said. Jewels found in the tombs will be exhibited in the Ephesus Museum after they have been thoroughly studied.

Monday, October 13, 2008 – Anatolia News Agency

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