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x0x The last treasures of the archaeology world: Allianoi and Metropolis

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    x0x The last treasures of the archaeology world: Allianoi and Metropolis Seval Deniz Karahaliloglu For the first time the economic crisis benefited something,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2002
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      x0x The last treasures of the archaeology world: Allianoi and Metropolis

      Seval Deniz Karahaliloglu

      For the first time the economic crisis benefited something, namely the
      Allianoi excavations. Because of financial problems due to the economic
      crisis the Yoltanli Dam's construction has been postponed for a couple
      of years. This will help the Allianoi excavations With the postponement of
      construction of Yoltanli Dam, a light can be seen at the end of the
      tunnel. If Allianoi excavation area can't be protected by the government,
      it will be flooded by the Yoltanli Dam and share the same fate as
      Zeugma. In order to rescue the treasure of Allianoi, excavations have been
      carried out under the control of the Bergama Museum and a group of
      volunteers for days and nights. All the findings from Allianoi have been
      kept in the Bergama Museum, but it is a race against time to save the
      artifacts of the ancient city.

      After having brought the ruins of Allianoi to daylight and Metropolis
      ancient cities, the archaeology world has reached a detailed knowledge of
      ancient mankind. The ruins of Allianoi have been discovered in the region
      of "Pasa Ilycasi" 18 kilometers outside of the Bergama district of Izmir.
      The Allianoi excavation has been carried out by professor Ahmet Yaras from
      the Trakya University Archaeology Department. Under the threat of Yoltanli
      Dam's waters, "rescue excavations" has been accelerated with the
      assistance a group of academicians, archaeology students and restorers
      from different universities and workers from nearby villages. The
      excavation area created serious employment for villagers who were working
      eagerly digging and evacuating the soil from the excavation site. The
      "rescue excavation" is held every year between June 15 and Oct. 1 since
      1998 under the sponsorship of General Directorate of Monument and Museums
      relating to the Culture Ministry, State Water Works (DSI), Philip
      Morris-Sabanci, the Bergama Yortanli Association for Rescue and Trakya
      University Archaeology Department.

      According to historical findings, the excavated area was called Pasa
      Ilicasi and must be told with "Holy words" (Hieroi Logoi III.6) written by
      an ancient writer "Aristides". The author went there to get over an
      illness. Allianoi is on a strait 9,700 square meters long, where spring
      water was 45-55 degrees celsius, the middle of the land was crossed by the
      Ilyca River. Allianoi gained a big reputation from its thermal spring
      center and was known as the most important therapy complex within the
      period of the Roman Emperor Hadrianus (AC 117-138). During the last five
      years, two glamorous gates, streets, shops, houses adorned with perfectly
      protected mosaics, large squares, public fountains and insulas (places for
      resting after having a bath) were found at the excavation. Surprisingly,
      the finds such as mosaics, marble stones and some wooden pieces which
      belonged to the houses were perfectly protected thanks to being covered by
      alluvion soil.

      Turkish Daily News (TDN) interviewed professor Ahmet Yaras who supports
      keeping these archaeological treasures and attaches importance to the last
      findings from Allianoi. Yaras, talking about the last findings, said:
      "Allianoi was known as the most important thermal and therapy centre
      during ancient times. This knowledge is confirmed with the last findings,
      such as the artifacts and the buildings. We discovered the thermal complex
      and we estimate that it is a small part of the whole area. The perimeter
      of the city must be bigger than we think because we have some clues about
      the main roads, which were connected with the other ancient cities,
      belonging to the Roman period. Our target is to introduce the Allianoi
      Ancient City to the world and save this area from Yoltanli Dam's
      waters. I hope Allianoi will not share the same fate as Zeugma. Several
      photograph exhibitions were held in Izmir and in Istanbul in the last
      years, a CD-rom was prepared, a web site was set up on the Internet and a
      special 'Photograph Catalogue' was prepared to promote and save Allianoi."

      Allianoi hosted many artifacts and findings belonging to the Roman and the
      Byzantine period. During the Byzantine period, although Allianoi had lost
      its importance as a health center, Byzantines built many churches, houses,
      chapels and ovens to produce several ceramic and glass products. Since
      1994, numerous parts of sculptures, ceramic pieces, metallic findings,
      glass artifacts belonging to various periods such as the Late Hellenistic
      Roman and Late Roman Period have been brought to daylight. The last
      findings gave detailed information about the historical and archaeological
      structure of the region. In the last year, Allianoi's treasures were
      displayed to the public. The excavations area open to visitors is very
      important to gain the support of the public. A special team has been
      working on a attempt to exhibit the findings. Many wooden materials are
      researched by professor Peter Koniholm from Cornell University, coins are
      prepared by professor Oguz Tekin, metallic artifacts are classified by an
      expert archaeologist Danis Baykan and jewellery is studied by Guler

      Ahmet Yaras and his team have some plans about Allianoi for the near
      future. He explained: "Allianoi Ancient City will be open to the public in
      the near future. The architectural restoration has already begun and there
      is a special road for visitors made with rounded pebbles. The most
      interesting structure is a wooden platform built on the excavation area to
      watch the houses with mosaics and the other buildings. This wooden
      platform is known a unique example among the archaeological areas in
      Turkey. First of all, the target of the platform is to become a tourist
      attraction and save the Allianoi excavation research and secondly, to
      protect the artifacts and the buildings in the excavation area against any
      harmful physical damages. We are very pleased to get financial support
      from some private and formal institutions such as General Directorate of
      Monument and Museums relating to the Culture Ministry, State Water Works
      (DSI), Philip Morris-Sabanci, the Bergama Yortanli Association for Rescue
      and Trakya University Archaeology Department, receiving TL 200 billion
      from these private and formal institutions."

      Metropolis is another Ancient City brought to daylight with an excavation
      team led by professor Recep Meric from Dokuz Eylul University under the
      sponsorship of the Culture Ministry, Philip Morris-Sabanci and MESEDER (an
      Association for Metropolis Lovers). Metropolis is settled on a hill
      between the Yenikoy and Ozbey villages out of Torbaly, a district of
      Izmir. The Metropolis excavation has been carried out by 15
      archaeologists, restorers, architects and archaeology students coming from
      different universities of Turkey.

      Metropolis getting its name from mythology means "the city of mother
      goddess, Meter Gallesia." Several goddess statues were excavated in a cave
      five kilometers north of the city. Strabon, a famous geographer of ancient
      times, considered Metropolis one of the most important vine producers in
      the region and an important raw material supplier with marble mines during
      ancient times. The findings also show that trade developed, for example,
      inscriptions stressed the existence of a stockbroker called "Hegesias".
      Metropolis gained its reputation in the 3rd century B.C. of the
      Hellenistic Period.

      Meric, talking to the TDN about the progress of the excavation and future
      plans for the Metropolis Ancient City, said: "The last findings such as
      houses and buildings proved the existence of a regular settlement. An
      ancient theatre, known as the most perfectly protected theatre on the
      world, original marble stones of sitting places and ground stage,
      armchairs belonging to the administrators of the city and marble steps
      were discovered. Because Metropolis settled on a landslide structure, the
      theatre was completely covered by soil. When we discovered the theatre, it
      was completely under the earth, so we made a few restorations for missing
      parts of the theatre. They plan to use it for artistic performances like
      in the ancient periods. With a capacity of 900 people, Metropolis Ancient
      Theatre has already hosted some artistic concerts in the last two years.
      In the future, we are going to cooperate with the Fine Arts Faculty
      Theatre Department to perform classic plays from ancient writers."

      The landslide had a dominant effect in the area. There are two sides of
      this event. One of them is positive: All the building were settled on
      terraces, so it was perfectly protected against any damages. The other
      effect is negative. Excavations are carried out very carefully to
      strengthen the buildings against landslides. Another problem is a lack of
      knowledge of how big the ancient city is. Every finding shows that it is
      bigger than was thought. Meric stressed: "Five percent of the real area of
      the city has been discovered since 1989. We have already carried out four
      different excavation sites including old and new sites of the city. A
      theatre, a bouleuterion (council building of the city where all vital
      decisions had been taken and laws were made), an agora (commercial
      centre), a hammam-gymnasium, a latrine (general lavatory), a stoa (covered
      place for social activities such as religious rituals, political,
      philosophical, commercial, cultural and artistic meetings), an acropolis,
      a Byzantine castle and a church belonging to the Byzantine period have
      been discovered up to date. Restorations became dense on the vertical
      streets with steps, settled in the south of Hammam - Gymnasium complex.
      Additionally, we have already begun restoration research for the council
      building crossed by the city walls of a Byzantine castle."

      Meric added: "We are very pleased to get financial support from the
      Culture Ministry, Philip Morris and the Meseder. With the support of these
      institutions, many important buildings and houses were discovered. Our aim
      is to introduce the beauties of the Metropolis Ancient City to the world,
      so we are going to print priceless mosaic pictures on t-shirts. The
      glamorous mosaics were found at reception room near the theatre and we
      have already accepted visitors to this excavation area."

      Metropolis and Allianoi were very important centers from ancient times and
      they still keep their secrets underground. To bring the treasures to
      daylight and keep the beauties of these ancient cities, Metropolis and
      Allianoi need support.

      Izmir - Turkish Daily News

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