Denizli strikes gold with archaeological discoveries

August 10, 2011, Wednesday/ 16:46:00

Archaeological excavations in the southwestern city of Denizli, an area renowned for its proximity to nearby historical sites such as the mineral-coated hillside hot springs of Pamukkale and the ancient city ruins of Hierapolis and Laodicea on the Lycus, have struck gold with a series of important finds at two different sites made over the past few days.

Excavations in the scenic rural district of Kale, where the castle of Tabae, believed to have been built by the followers of Alexander the Great, is located, happened upon two Roman-period sculptures believed to be of Aphrodite, while in a church in Laodicea 1,600-year-old mosaics were discovered, which are believed to symbolically depict God’s eyes, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference about the discovery of the Aphrodite sculptures, the director of the excavation board at Kale, Professor Bozkurt Ersoy, said the relics were found at an excavation around a Roman cistern at Tabae, where pieces of bronze and marble sculpture were previously discovered. Emphasizing Tabae’s importance in the Roman era, Ersoy said: “These are very valuable discoveries. Sculptures of Aphrodite are rare and these are unrivalled artifacts. For one of the pieces we have only as yet discovered the head piece; this is a sculpture from the early Hellenistic period, which we believe dates back to the second half of the fourth century B.C. At this stage, however, there is still a possibility that it could be a copy from the Roman period. The other sculpture, which has the head and body intact, we believe it comes from the third century A.D.”

Regarding the second discovery, at the ruins of the ancient city of Laodicea along the river Lycus, the director of the excavation at Laodicea, Professor Celal Şimşek, said the mosaic was unearthed in one of three churches that is currently being restored and that it was believed to depict God’s eyes, further adding: “In the excavation we are currently undertaking in Denizli’s Eskihisar district, every new day treats us to valuable historical discoveries. This one, we believe, is a particularly important find.”

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