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