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Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey

More than 50 terracotta figurines have been found in the ancient city of Myra in the Demre district of the southern province of Antalya that consisted of partially preserved clay female, male, god, goddess, ram and horseman figurines and inscriptions of vow from the 1st and 2nd century BC that have excited the scientific world. 

Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey
Credit: AA

The Myra and Andriakee excavations have been conducted under the direction of Professor Nevzat Çevik on behalf of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Akdeniz University. The works unearthed more than 50 terracotta figurines, which date back 2,000 to 2,200 years. Stating that the main goal of the 2020 excavations was to unravel the secrets of the Roman-era theatre, Çevik said that they shaped their work programs within its scope.

Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey
Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey
Credit: AA

Çevik said that during the theatre excavations in the ancient city of Myra while searching the early assets before the Roman theater, the walls of the Hellenistic-era structures were unearthed as well. He added that during their excavation works they found a small theater that remained under the Roman theatre in the Hellenistic period and a large number of terracotta statuettes, various ceramics, bronze, lead and silver objects that were scattered around in that space.

Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey
Figurines found at ancient Myra in southern Turkey
Credit: AA

Drawing attention to the rich variety of the figurines of women, men, children, gods, goddesses, rams, horsemen, fruit bearers, women with children and inscriptions of vow, Çevik said, “We found an amazing terracotta figurine collection together. We haven’t reached the entire collection yet. It is as if the people of Myra were resurrected, ran together and reached today. Intact and complete, there are hundreds of more figurine pieces belonging to the collection, which currently includes 40-50 pieces. When the broken pieces come together there will be more figurines, too. The figurines feature the daily life. The fact that the dyes on them are partially preserved shows us the colour of clothes they wore in their time. The creation of this rich collection of an extraordinary variety of figurines also shows us the technology of that time and the art of statuette. It gives rich clues about what existed in the 1st and 2nd century BC in Myra.”

Stating that red, blue and pink colours were used in different shades in terracotta figurines, Çevik said, “Some of the works, which were discovered together for the first time like the rich collection provides important information about the art, culture and beliefs of the period, which are very important unique works that we see for the first time.”

The artifacts will be exhibited at the Museum of Lycian Civilizations in Demre.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [September 12, 2020]


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