[EXPAT VOICE] Black Sea’s single ancient theater to draw in tourism

April 16, 2010, Friday/ 16:10:00
An ancient theater, uncovered through archeological excavations in the Black Sea region’s Zonguldak province, is hoped to increase tourism to the area.Turkey’s Black Sea region is home to various shades and tones of the color green and attracts travelers with its archeological wonders. However, it has only one ancient theater in the ancient city of Tios in the northern province of Zonguldak. The ancient city of Tios, located in Filyos, in Zonguldak’s Çaycuma district, is believed to have been founded by Miletians in the seventh century B.C.

Many historians believe the ancient site was named after a priest named Tios. However, Strabon indicates that this city was inhabited by a tribe named Kaukan and was called Tieion. The region was inhabited throughout the centuries by Persians, Romans, the Genoese and the Ottomans.

There is little information about the archaeological history of the city both in ancient records and in the contemporary body of archaeological research. The visible remains of the city are the coastal defense walls, the aqueduct, the amphitheater, the defense tower and the port with its breakwater.

Archeologist Sümer Atasoy said an ancient theater in Filyos will be uncovered as a result of archeological excavation. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Atasoy noted that an excavation team comprising six faculty members, three restoration architects, two ceramics experts, two epigraphy experts, two geophysicists and 20 students from Trakya University’s department of archeology, directed by Professor Atasoy, is carrying out the archeological studies in Tios. The excavation is being undertaken by Atasoy at the request of Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay. Following a survey of the area and geo-radar and geo-electric studies, this year’s excavations will focus on the castle, amphitheater and bath with an eye to reveal the architectural components of the temple and bath.

After the team completes its excavation, the ancient theater will be restored, said Atasoy, who is also a lecturer in Trakya University’s department of archeology.

Furthermore, an old health center in the town will be transformed into a small house where the excavation team will stay, hold meetings and carry out its work. “When we conduct our excavation at the ancient theater, some 25 students and 30 others will have many responsibilities. In earlier times, we generally had to rent a building, which was very expensive for us. We expect to carry out more excavations, involving many archeologists, in the years to come. Therefore, building a house will be to our advantage,” Atasoy said.

The first archaeological excavation in Tios began in 2006. Shreds of pottery recovered from the excavation site which dates back to the seventh century B.C. will be displayed in a museum in Ereğli once the scientific studies involving them are concluded.

The acropolis of the ancient city is located immediately to the east of the present day Filyos on a hill with a steep slope. The original architectural form of the defensive wall located on the acropolis will be revealed after research on its foundation is completed. Another ruin in the acropolis is a partially destroyed stone building.

Excavations in the ancient city of Tios has been continuing and hope to illuminate the history of the Black Sea region and Asia.