(ORDO NEWS) — In Turkey, archaeologists have discovered dozens of terracotta sculptures over 2,000 years old, depicting ancient Greek gods, people and animals.
According to Live Science, excavations were carried out in the ancient city of Mira, which was located five kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. He was part of Lycia. Many secrets, myths and legends are associated with it. According to one of them, for example, the apostle Paul docked to the harbor at the mouth of the Andrak River, which connected Mira with the sea, before his departure to Rome.
Now, next to the ruins of an ancient Lycian city is a small Turkish town Demre, Antalya province. It was there that an archaeological team from Akdeniz University discovered dozens of terracotta figurines depicting both gods and mere mortals.
Many of these artifacts are very well preserved, although they are more than 2000 years old. It is reported that some of them even have preserved paint, which is extremely rare. As a rule, scientists have to restore the original color of the statues using chemical analysis.
“This collection of figurines gives us detailed information about what existed in the mysterious World in the first and second centuries BC, – says the head of the excavation, professor of archeology Nevzat икevik. – They were under a thick layer of silt. I note that Mira is one of the most important ancient settlements in Lycia, an important maritime region on the shores of the Mediterranean.”
Mira Port was once one of the largest harbors in the ancient Mediterranean. It is famous for its rock-cut tombs, the church of St. Nicholas, who was the bishop of Myra in the 4th century AD, and the theater of the Roman era, which could hold up to 11 thousand spectators at a time.
By the way, during the last excavations, Chevik and his team discovered the remains of another theater, smaller in size. Its ruins were found under the Roman theater. As for the collection of sculptures, they mainly depicted Greek gods and goddesses, as well as heroes. For example, statues of Hercules, Artemis, Aphrodite and Apollo have already been identified.
Some terracotta figurines depicted mere mortals – men and women. One of the figures depicted a mother and her child, another – a boy with some kind of fruit, the third – a horseman and a woman carrying a hydria, an ancient Greek vessel for water. In addition, sculptures of various animals have been discovered.
The oldest finds date back to the Hellenistic period. It was created around 323 BC, that is, at the time when Alexander the Great died. The youngest sculptures date from the early period of the Roman Empire, they were created around 30 BC.
Many statuettes have survived partially. Some of them have no heads, others have bodies. However, the missing elements can be found during further excavations. According to archaeologists, the found sculptures could decorate theaters: first Hellenistic, then Roman.
This was typical of Mediterranean cities at the time. The sculptures of the patron gods were cult, traditional. In addition, it was customary to decorate theaters of that time with sculptures depicting the most prominent townspeople, patrons of art, rulers and members of their families. But there is also a version that at some point in time, the statuettes were collected throughout the city and put in one place.
“Numerous terracotta figurines came as a surprise to us, a big surprise,” Chevik said. “It’s like if the people of ancient Mira suddenly resurrected and entered our days, running together through the“ tunnel of time ”.
Archaeologists have also unearthed many other artifacts such as ceramic, bronze, lead, and silver items, including cult dishes and incense vessels.
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