Ru­ins of 1,700-year-old villa dis­cov­ered in An­talya

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

VILLA ru­ins that are al­most 2,000 years old were un­cov­ered dur­ing ex­ca­va­tions in the an­cient city of Arykanda, lo­cated in the Finike dis­trict of An­talya, where sig­nif­i­cant re­mains re­veal the im­por­tance of the re­gion.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Macit Tek­inalp, who leads the ex­ca­va­tion, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Arykanda was an an­cient city built on ter­races due to the topo­graph­i­cal fea­tures of the re­gion. In­di­cat­ing that pub­lic build­ings were also built on ter­races that were cre­ated par­tic­u­larly for that pur­pose, Tek­inalp said that Arykanda, mean­ing “the place next to the high rock,” got its name from a huge rock lo­cated next to it.

Em­pha­siz­ing that the place was named af­ter that spot, while most an­cient cities were named af­ter their founders, Tek­inalp said that ex­ca­va­tions had been go­ing on in the re­gion for 47 years.

He noted that the an­cient city was known as “the place where lo­tus eaters live” in some re­sources and added: “There were six hamams in this an­cient city. The ex­pres­sion ‘lo­tus-eater’ might have been used due to the high num­ber of hamams. The city is lo­cated on the moun­tain­side and is dif­fi­cult to reach. We do not have much proof that there was a very lux­u­ri­ous life here.”

In ad­di­tion to say­ing that Arykanda was an an­cient city not lo­cated on Alexan­der the Great’s route and did not wit­ness many wars, Tek­inalp stressed that it had all the ad­van­tages of be­ing lo­cated on a main road. He said that a villa struc­ture that is thought to have been built in the early 4th cen­tury was un­earthed dur­ing the ex­ca­va­tions, and it pro­vided them with very in­ter­est­ing data about the pe­riod even though it might have been de­stroyed in a fire.

“We think the villa was ru­ined by a fire around the year 435. It gave us in­ter­est­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal data. An­cient cities that suf­fered from fires and earth­quakes are very sig­nif­i­cant for ar­chae­ol­o­gists be­cause we can see items that peo­ple weren’t able to take away. We found the name of the per­son who used this villa, as in­for­ma­tion about this per­son was writ­ten on mo­saics dug up from the floor of the build­ing. The name on the in­scrip­tion is Pierus, who must have had a big fam­ily. The struc­ture was a huge villa with eight large rooms and a sec­ond floor, which we think was de­stroyed in a fire,” said Tek­inalp.

In ad­di­tion to say­ing that the villa ben­e­fit­ted from a city view and was one of the most pres­ti­gious houses in that pe­riod, Tek­inalp added: “Pierus had a spe­cial ha­mam for him­self and his fam­ily. When they didn’t use the ha­mam them­selves, the fam­ily used it for com­mer­cial rea­sons and rented it out. The villa was later turned into two-room hous­ing. There was a pool in the gar­den of the villa, and that pool had a view. Those find­ings are re­sources which shed light on the daily life of an aris­to­crat who lived in the 4th cen­tury.” He said that they think the sec­ond floor of the villa was built on wood and mo­saics were en­graved into the wood.

Point­ing out that even though it was medium-sized, the city had six hamams, Tek­inalp added: “Hamams cre­ate an at­trac­tion cen­ter in a city. Peo­ple from sea­side towns pre­ferred to come to the city to cool off and get clean. The re­gion was used as table­land. We think there was do­mes­tic tourism in the re­gion even in that pe­riod. Oth­er­wise, we can­not ex­plain the ex­is­tence of six hamams. The pop­u­la­tion was in­suf­fi­cient for those hamams. It was the most sig­nif­i­cant link­ing road in the Ly­cia re­gion con­nect­ing the sea­side to the Ana­to­lian plateau. It was a place where those who used this road stayed. Be­ing lo­cated in a re­gion be­tween Finike and the Ana­to­lian plateau en­abled this city to be a place where those who passed through stayed and rested.”

A villa struc­ture that is thought to have been built in the early fourth cen­tury was un­earthed dur­ing the ex­ca­va­tions.

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