Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Anthropologist Accused

Following on from the previous post regarding the anthropologist who spent several months in Gümüşlük between 1966 & 67 I found a retrospective account of her stay published in 2003, it has all the ingredients of a suspense novel, a marital breakup, battles with the state bureaucracy, accusations of smuggling, association with a suspected spy and explosives being planted in her vehicle.

Most of the chapter is available on Google Books; see the link below (starting at page 77)

Ch 3 “The Anthropologist Accused” from Crime’s Power: Anthropologists and the Ethnography of Crime, edited by Philip C Parnell and Stephanie C Kane published by Palgrave McMillan in 2003

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Modern Village

A couple of years ago I came across a reference to an ethnographic study carried out in the village during 1967-8. The names of the individuals are changed and so is the name of village, it is referred to as Mandalinci. Although the name was different it was obvious from the maps and descriptions of the area that author was studying and recording village life in Gümüşlük; the findings of the research were later published under the title of Dispute and Settlement in Rural Turkey – An Ethnography of Law.

The introduction to the study contains a short description of the village’s history from around the mid 1800s to the 1960s, I’ve attempted to summarise the history in a new page The Beginnings of the Modern Village  which also includes a couple of references to a short naval bombardment of the village during WW1.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Presentation to the Bodrum Chamber of Commerce 26 Sep 14

Bodrum Kent TV have reported on a presentation to BODTO, the Bodrum Chamber of Commerce, by Prof Mustafa Şahin, the lead archaeologist, working on the Myndos excavations at Gümüşlük.

During the presentation, which detailed the work to date, the Professor stated that results from a series of geophysical surveys identified features below the present ground surface which indicted that footings, wall lines and roadways of the ancient city still remain, relatively undisturbed, across a large area of the site, furthermore recent research suggested that the site may be much older than originally thought.

Prof Şahin went to say that once the excavations were completed the site could offer a huge boost to the local tourist trade, increasing the season from 3 to 10 months; however it would take many years to complete the excavations under the present regime where the work was limited to a short period each year during the University summer recess.

When asked by a local councillor how much it would cost to employ a team to work on the site for 12 months a year Prof Şahin estimated a cost of 400 – 500 thousand Turkish Lira (approx 174,000 to 217,000 US $) per annum.

Whilst this may seem a large sum, Prof Şahin described how the archaeology team excavating the site of Laodicea (on the Lycus) near the village Eskihisar in the province of Denizli receive an annual budget of 1.5 million TL.

It’s not clear from the article if the professor was attempting to secure funding from individual members of the chamber of commerce or if he was soliciting the chamber’s support to lobby the Bodrum / Muğla Municipalities for additional funding.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Kazı Başkan'dan Açıklama – Explanation from the Chairman of Excavation

Yesterday (02-Sep-14) an article on Bodrum Kent TV’s web page reported that Prof Şahin has issued a written statement in response to Mr Salih Güney’s allegations.

Like Mr Güney I would also like to see the theatre excavated, but it has been there for over 2000 years so having to wait a for a few more years won’t hurt. After all UU Archaeology are planning a systematic excavation, not a treasure hunt.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Başkan Dernek Kapattırdı - Update

For those, like me, who have to rely on software to translate Turkish to English, below is a link to Jack Snowden’s blog “Turkish News Tuhaf” which contains a translation of the article reporting the rift between the local association and Prof Şahin.

I’ve been in touch with an acquaintance who has close ties with the UU Archaeology team. In his opinion the withdrawal of support is not viewed as a serious issue, and will not affect future excavations. He also added that the biggest setback to work commencing on the theatre, referred to in the article, is that the proposed excavation site is on privately owned land.

Access to the archaeology on the mainland has been an issue since 2006. The excavations in 2005 & 2006 and the subsequent geophysical surveys strongly suggest that a considerable portion of the ancient city may still remain, relatively undisturbed. Unfortunately the majority of the features are on privately owned land and there seems to be reluctance on the part of the local landowners to grant access.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Başkan Dernek Kapattırdı

An article in yesterday’s Canli Haber described a disagreement between Prof Şahin, the leader of the Uludağ University Archaeology team, and the president of the local association formed to protect and promote the ancient city. This rift seems to have resulted in the termination of the ties between the two groups.

There has been no statement posted on the association’s website or on UU’s Myndos Facebook page so if anyone has any information of what happened at the meeting, please email or post a comment.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Latest Newspaper Articles On The Rabbit Island Excavations

There have been a number of articles in the Turkish over the past two days regarding excavations on Rabbit Island / Tavşan Adasi / Asar Adasi which may be associated with an end of (excavation) season press release.

The articles suggest that the island will be open to visitors next year, excavations started in 2009 and access has been limited since that date.

The newspaper reports also contain an apparent revised date for some of the human remains first uncovered in 2009. Early reports suggested that the grave constructions and artefacts suggested interment dates from the 5th to the 11th century A.D. however the latest press reports state that some of the remains date from the 3rd century. 

I was only considering the origins of some of the remains earlier this week as I tried to compile a summary of the excavation reports for 2009-2011. It would be interesting if those now dated to the 3rd century have been carbon dated as they most likely pre date the church which has previously thought to have been constructed in the 5th or 6th century.

The Roman persecution of Christians ended with the Edict of Milan in 313 AD and the Council of Nicaea issued the Nicene Creed in 325 making Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. 

Assuming that any Christian executed for their beliefs would have died before these dates raises several possibilities:

The church was dedicated to members of a local group who been punished for practising their religion prior to 313 and whose remains were reburied in the 5th or 6th century

The remains are “holy relics” which were interred in the church. This is was a known practice later in northern European churches where the remains of saints and other artefacts would be used to attract pilgrims.

That the present church is built on the site of an earlier 3rd century church

The latter is fairly unlikely as it is difficult to believe that followers of what was viewed as an unofficial sect / religion would be allowed to construct a place of worship in such a prominent position. However that does discount the possibility that there was an active covert Christian community practicing in area before 313 AD.

As far as I’m aware there are no biblical references to an early 3rd century Christian community in the area, however there are records of an active Jewish community at Myndos from as early as 139 BC and later around the 4th to 6th century AD

I’ve tried to contact UU regarding the dating of the remains, but I don’t hold out much hope of receiving a reply, past attempts to clarify dates etc have been disappointing.

Haberciniz 21-08-14


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Chart of the Promontory of Boodroom with the Karabaghla Islands and the North Point of the Island of Kos ... by Francis Beaufort F.R.S. ... 1811

Chart of the Promontory of Boodroom with the Karabaghla Islands and the North Point of the Island of Kos ... by Francis Beaufort F.R.S. ... 1811: United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)

Possibly the first British naval chart of the Bodrum Peninsula, Beaufort a Captain at the time went on to become Hydrographer of the Navy.

Along with Boodroom some of the other anglicised pronunciations of Turkish place names include Biteh (Bitez) Kady –Kalassy (Kadikalesi) & Gumishlu (Gümüşlük ) 

Sunday, 22 June 2014


To Bozdag and back

It was 23rd of June 2010. Dave and I had decided see the recently identified late Roman marble quarry at the top of Bozdag Hill, which Dave had read a report about in Halicarnassian Studies. Some years before with Arif, we had climbed Bozdag on foot in a failed attempt to find remains of  Lelegian walls and foundations of a tower. Asking Arif the best way to get there was a bit of a no brainer, as we all remembered the difficulty we had climbing the 1 in 3 hill before.

    ‘We’ll go in my fathers car’ was Arif’s quick reply. ‘I’ll drive you to the top’

We couldn’t remember seeing anything like a road going up it, let alone a car.

So there we were in Arif’s dads old fiat 131, soon discovering there was no road but found ourselves bouncing up a loose dirt track that would have easily qualified as a stage in the WRC Rally of Turkey.

The trip to the top whilst full of bounce was uneventful.  The return trip however was to prove otherwise.

The journey down allowed me to film shots of the valley. The track from the summit ran into a road passing through the Munipicality refuse tip, which, as well as containing rubbish also held ramshackle building structures, a sort of shanty town for workers on the tip.

My camera was still running as we reached the tip area.  As workers saw us and the camera, people started remonstrating shaking their fists and shouting in Turkish, running alongside the car. Arif slowed down and attempts were made to snatch the video camera from the car. Arif stopped and got out of the car and started arguing aggressively with them. As the crowd and noise increased Arif pulled out his phone, made a call then passed it to the leader of the angry mob.

After the phone call, things were calmer, Arif returned to the car to explain that the people working/living on the tip thought we were an undercover film crew sent to film them. Arif’s phone call had been to the Jandarma, and the only way he could persuade the group to let us leave, was if we reported to the Jandarma station with one of the group’s leaders.

During the journey to the station, with Arif as an interpreter and using the maps and documentation we had, we tried to impress on the leader that we were only interested in the quarry. Arif said he seemed suitably impressed and had asked if Dave was a Professor. To which we all readily agreed, he seemed a little more impressed, as was Dave.
At the station I agreed to delete any footage of the tip that had caused offence. With everyone satisfied, we took the leader back to the tip. During the course of the journey the leader was chatting and laughing with Arif in Turkish. We just hoped that he was not about to try and raise his status with other members of his group by asking the Professor and his companions to have a glass of raki with them.

We had both seen Midnight Express, so the first beer on our return to Hera seemed like celebrating freedom.  

You can see a short video of the road trip to Bozdag and back (of course minus the angry crowd scenes deleted to appease the authorities ), at: Link To You Tube Video

Saturday, 21 June 2014

New Page Added – Excavations in 2005 and 2006

The new page contains an interpretation of Uludağ University’s web reports of the 2005-2006 excavations cross referenced with an earlier version of the same reports downloaded in 2007; I’ve also added a few photographs of the area taken in 06 & 07.

The web reports only contain brief descriptions of the findings and I would love to get access to the full excavation reports as there are more tantalising references to finds which suggest a possible earlier period of occupation, but there is no detail of the context in which they were found e.g. were the fragments of obsidian tools, and the sherds of pottery dating from 740 – 700 BC found below undisturbed layers of Hellenistic deposits. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Page – Archaeological Survey 2004

Although certain areas of the village have been subject to a state protection order for some time there seems to have been no systematic or formal evaluation of the area until a survey was undertaken in 2004.

New page Archaeological Survey 2004  describes some of the areas and findings detailed in the survey report

Friday, 23 May 2014

52 Column Bases and the Stadium

Taken from 1837 Chart L1531 Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (
Taken from 1837 Chart L1531 
Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (

Charles T Newton, the archaeologist who discovered the remains of the mausoleum of Halicarnassus, visited Gümüşlük in 1857.  Using the 1844 British Admiralty Chart 1531 as a guide Newton located the 52 column bases shown on the chart and commented that the outline of the stadium was visible but “nearly obliterated”.

In 2009 and following Newton’s example we obtained a copy of 1844 chart from the British Library and discovered that that some of the column bases may still be in situ. For photographs and a little more detail see the new page 52 Column Bases and The Stadium

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Yilmos’s Birthday

       Over the years we have seen many waiters come and go at Hera restaurant. All have been memorable in many ways, but one stands out, Yilmos.
        If someone had a stills camera, he was anxious to be in the shot, if someone produced a video camera, it was as if someone had turned on the lights and shouted action. He was a natural performer with impromptu dialogue that could have been scripted by the wackiest writers.
         When you are a waiter in a sleepy fishing village in a small Turkish tourist resort, as Yilmos was. Talking to people who vary in nationality by the hour certainly increases your knowledge of other languages, but how do you use it? Well that’s where Yilmos was unique. To try and describe him a little more, let me take you back to the late 90’s when our stay at the Hera coincided with his Birthday.........

          Word had got around that it was Yilmos’s Birthday, no doubt fuelled by Yilmos. I met him on the way to my early morning swim.
           ‘Good morning Yilmos, happy birthday.
           ‘Why good morning good buddy, and remember günaydin is good morning in Turkish if you should want to speak as me fluent in other lingo. Don’t forget, have a slice of my cake tonight you and your good lady wife’
           ‘Sure Yilmos thank you’
           ‘No problem, and please, thank you in Turkish is teşekkür ederim, but please is lutven, not German but sounds same.
 My body is already hitting the water as he finishes. Being spoken to by Yilmos in his staccato style is like having words fired at you from a machine gun, and not always in the right order.
             My wife and I were the first to arrive in the restaurant on the evening.  A couple of drinks and a cigar for Yilmos.
            ‘How old is the Birthday boy then? My wife asks.
            ‘Is still nineteen my lovely Diane’
            ‘I bet we could double that’ we retort. Just then a family of four from the rear apartments arrive. A boy and a girl run round Yilmos saying in broken English happy birthday.  From Norway I thought.
            ‘Where are they from?’ my wife asks Yilmos.
            ‘Why Sweden’ he replied.  I am wrong.  The couple introduce themselves’
            ‘I am Theo from Norway and this is my wife Anna from Sweden.’ Half right Yilmos.
              Then what looks like a retired couple from the same apartments enter, he has a head of white hair and very striking white moustache . They sit at the table next to us and he introduces himself.
             ‘Good evening my name is Eric.’ It is the perceived voice of every retired English Colonel heard on stage and screen.
             ‘This is my wife Elaine, but they call us Eric and Ernie, she’s the one with the fat hairy legs’ he chortled.  I look down at her legs like a fool before returning the introduction.  Eric then moves to the Norway Sweden amalgamation and introduces himself as before.  As he gets to the fat hairy legs bit I notice Theo looks down.  Yilmos who has been taking all this information in, turns to Eric and asks.
              ‘What would Mr and Mrs Ernie like to drink?’ and I swear he looked at her legs.
              An American party arrives, three girls and a married couple. Across the restaurant  Sweden and Norway have made Yilmos a crown of flowers. My wife thinks he looks like the queen of the fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The family then sing to Yilmos Happy Birthday in their own Language. Yilmos is taken by surprise, but by swiftly looking at all of them in turn he manages to sing along using their words.
               The couple in the American party introduce themselves as Nancy and Matt. The rest of the evening, for some unknown reason Yilmos refers to them as Mercy and Max.

                  If you would like to see some snippets of the evening on film, please go to the following:

Yilmos was also always keen to send a message to anyone he knew who hadn’t turned up that particular summer. Two of these messages can also be savoured by going to the following:

Monday, 5 May 2014

The Western Harbour

Professor Şahin of Uludağ University has recently uploaded an article onto titled “A New Discovery In The Myndos Harbour Survey: The West Harbour”

In the article, originally published in the TINA Maritime Archaeology Periodical, Prof Şahin proposes that the Western Harbour may have been a later addition to the original city. The piece includes some interesting underwater photographs by Dr Oktay Dumankaya of deposits of pottery on the breakwater which are suggestive of two shipwrecks.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Proposed Theatre Location

In 2011, following a joint project with the University of Hamburg, Uludağ University Archaeology Department announced that they had identified the possible site of the theatre.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

New page added The "Lelegian" Wall 

Apart from the obvious misnomer, as most academics seem to agree that it isn’t a Lelegian structure,  there seems to be no obvious purpose for wall which runs down the spine of the headland, Kocadağ. However we came across a paper presented at a seminar held at the Free University of Berlin in 2005 where Professor Mustafa Şahin of Uludağ University proposed that the wall may pre date Mausolus’ Myndos by several hundred years. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014


One enchanted evening

      It started out as the type of evening Gümüşlük delivers on a regular basis. Hardly a breeze was blowing from the sea, which was bathed in moonlight. The only sounds that could be heard were the soft lap of the waves landing on the beach just a few steps from Hera restaurant, soft music wafting from the jazz cafe down the beach, and the murmur of people talking while enjoying their meals and drinks. After visiting for nearly 20 years we try very hard not to take these evenings for granted.

      Hera regularly set tables on the beach next to the sea, which makes for a more secluded meal and for some people it’s very romantic.
      We had just finished our meals in Hera when Güven the waiter came past carrying a menu for a couple who had been seated at a table by the sea.
      ‘I am bringing romantic news with a meal tonight’ said Güven
       ‘What’s the news?’ we asked.
      ‘It is a secret, please do not tell’ Güven said. ‘After their meal he will ask her to marry him, I shall take him their drinks with a box that contains a ring’
       Discretely, my wife and I, along with Dave who had joined us sat waiting for the romantic news.
       The couples meal was coming to its romantic conclusion, dishes had been taken away and Güven passed us carrying a tray of drinks and a small box. The box was opened and, as the question was being asked, Güven pointed overhead, we all looked up into the night sky.
        A fireball of immense size had suddenly appeared, streaming behind it a fan like tail. It made its way across the sky toward the horizon before disappearing as if into the sea. Those who saw it that night had never seen anything so huge and so clear. Some of us wondered if it was a disaster involving an aeroplane.

        During that night, and the next day we enquired if anyone else other than those at Hera had seen it, no one had. We looked into all the local and national media, nothing. To this day we have never been able to find out what it was we had seen that night. All we know is that some couple had the most marvellous romantic evening, and I would guess, that no woman since has had such a cosmic display of light appearing in the night sky as she was being proposed to.

Gulsum Ken

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Two pithoi burials in the Gümüşlük area excavated by staff from the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Bodrum Museum have performed a number of “rescue” excavations of tombs and burials around Gümüşlük, but to date I have never managed to find any of their reports published online.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Gümüşlük October 1943

A while ago while running a Google search for some other village related info I found a reference to an allied warship, HMS Hurworth, which had sank off the Island of Kalymnos in Oct 1943. 

HMS Hurworth By Royal Navy official photographer
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Following this lead I discovered that Hurworth was one of two ships that struck mines that night. The second ship, HHelMS Adrias, was badly damaged but managed to make its way to the neutral harbour of Gümüşlük as did some of the survivors from HMS Hurworth.

 HHMS Adrias By Royal Navy official photographer
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We’ve added a new page which contains a brief description of the events, and of the time Adrias was under repair in the village.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Monday, 3 March 2014

Visitors In The 1800s

It’s not unusual when reading about Gümüşlük’s history to see a comment along the lines of: early visitors to the site reported the presence of a stadium and theatre but neither survive today.
The man generally credited with proposing that Gümüşlük was the possible site of Mausolus’ Myndos was Captain Francis Beaufort following his survey of the coast line in 1811/12.
In 1836 Beaufort, now a Rear Admiral and British Hydrographer to the Navy, dispatched HMS Beacon under the command of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Graves on a survey of the Mediterranean.
1n 1938 Lt Cdr Graves surveyed and produced a chart of the Gümüşlük peninsular and included on it the position of the archaeological remains visible at the time. As far as we are aware all 19th century references to the stadium and theatre date back to naval chart produced from Lt Cdr Graves’ survey.
A new page has been added that contains a brief summary of Beaufort’s visit, Graves’ chart and comments by a few other visitors in the 1800s

Friday, 28 February 2014

Uludağ University have recently posted their photographs from the 2013 excavations on Rabbit Island  / Asar Adasi / Tavşan Adasi  on their Facebook page.

The photographs are mainly of the team at work on Rabbit Island but unfortunately they haven’t updated their main website yet to give any details of what they found last year.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sitting on the balcony at the Hera Apartments in the late 90s, discussing the lack of information available on the history of Gümüşlük & Myndos, started us off on the trail to find out more about the village, it's archaeology and it’s past.

Over the years we have accumulated quite a few snippets of information, some of which doesn’t appear in the current guide books, and we thought we’d start this blog to share the results with others who may share our interest in the history of the village.