Sidamara – the largest sarcophagus of the ancient world

(ORDO NEWS) — The sarcophagus of Sidamar, which is considered one of the largest sarcophagi of the ancient world and weighs 32 tons, after 140 years received the missing part – the head of Eros.

The sarcophagus dating back to the 3rd century AD, which is known by this name because it is located in the village of Ambar, formerly called Sidamara, on the Konya-Ereglisi-Karaman road in the center of Turkey, is known as the heaviest sarcophagus in the world, its weight is 32 tons. The artifact was found in 1900 and brought to Istanbul by Osman Hamdi Bey.

As a result of cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, on June 10, the exhibit brought to Turkey was reunited with a historical artifact belonging to it.

The head of Eros, which was brought from London to Turkey with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkish Airlines, was placed on a giant sarcophagus weighing more than 30 tons, while scientific research was carried out jointly by expert restorers from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The sarcophagus with columns from the Roman period was opened to visitors in its original form at the Istanbul Museum of Archeology today.

Sidamara the largest sarcophagus of the ancient world 2

The height of the marble sarcophagus is 313 cm, length – 381 cm, and width – 200 cm. On the front side of the sarcophagus, a man in the clothes of a philosopher sits in the center, on the right – a girl in the clothes of Artemis, on the left – a woman in the clothes of Demeter with a veil.

At the two ends of this face, the Dioscuri hold the bridles of horses. On the narrow side of the sarcophagus, a woman walks to the door of the tomb with a tray of fruit in her hand, while on the other side of the door a bearded man holds a roll. A hunting scene is engraved on the other long side and the other narrow side of the sarcophagus.

The owner of the sarcophagus and his wife lie on the lid of the sarcophagus. The frieze on the pedestal of the sarcophagus depicts Puttos and Eros fighting predators, on the other hand, training horses and chariot races.

It was understood that the head of Eros, one of the high reliefs separated from the sarcophagus, which was discovered by the British military consul general Charles Wilson in 1882 and was buried again due to the impossibility of moving it, was taken to London.

The sarcophagus, which was rediscovered by a villager in the ancient city of Sidamara in Karaman in 1898, was transferred to the Museum-i-H├╝mayun, which is now the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

The giant sarcophagus, which was decided to be transferred to a museum in Istanbul as a result of Osman Hamdi Bey’s research in this region, was transported in the conditions of that time to a center drawn by buffaloes.

The splendid work, having made a grueling journey with a special arrangement of train cars, reached today’s Istanbul Archaeological Museum in 1901.

The Eros head relief found in London was donated to Marion by Olivia Wilson to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1933 in memory of her father, Charles Wilson.

A plaster copy of the head of Eros was placed on a giant sarcophagus in the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul as a result of negotiations with representatives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the 1930s.

In 2010, as a result of research by Dr. Shehrazat Karagyoz, who brought this issue back on the agenda, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs transferred the issue of exhibiting the head of Eros along with the sarcophagus to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Dr. Tristram Hunt and his team to protect cultural property and their approach to in situ conservation of cultural property helped to return the head of Eros to his sarcophagus.

Thanks to a cooperation protocol signed between the Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the missing part of the sarcophagus was brought to Turkey and placed in its place.

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