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Excavations set to restart on Giresun island off Turkish Black Sea coast

Archaeological excavations that have been continuing sporadically on Giresun (Greek Aretias) island since 2011 will restart soon. The island is the only inhabited island in the Eastern Black Sea region.

Excavations set to restart on Giresun island off Turkish Black Sea coast
Credit: Hurriyet Daily News
Ancient Greek stories said the island was used by Amazons, the warrior women of legend, for fertility ceremonies and features in the tale of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. Archaeological excavations were undertaken in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

The examinations on the Byzantine-era tombs, walls, the ruins of a monastery and a chapel that have been unearthed during excavations show that the island served as a religious center for many years.

Giresun Museum Director Hulusi Güleç said only 10 percent of the island has been excavated so far but they aim to work in every part of the island starting from this year.

Güleç said excavations are planned to start in the last week of June and the Special Provincial Administration had provided the allocation.

He said the earliest ruins on the island date back to the 4th century B.C. but the team has unearthed traces of life from 2,000 B.C.

“We have not reached concrete evidence about it yet. Now we plan to find them during the next excavations on the whole island. We aim to find out whether people lived on Giresun island thousands of years ago,” Güleç added.

Amazons and the Golden Fleece

“Many mythological sources refer to the fact that the Amazon women lived on an island in the Black Sea. Especially, the existence of the Amazons in the Balck Sea is known. Mythological resources document that the Amazons left for the Trojan War over the Black Sea and lived on an island. The only island in the Eastern Black Sea region is in Giresun. It proves that the Amazons lived on the Giresun Island,” Güleç said.

Güleç said a number of spearheads and arrow heads have been found during excavations that may be linked to the Amazons.

According to the Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius the Argonauts arrived on Aretias Island early in their quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Fierce birds using arrow-like feathers fought against the troops but were frightened away with the sound of swords clanging on shields.

Güleç added that the upcoming excavations will hopefully verify the myths with new findings during further excavations.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [March 05, 2018]


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