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The Black Sea Region

05.08.2009
The Black Sea Region



July 22, 2009

The Black Sea region, home to various shades and tones of the colour green, is also attracting travellers with its archaeologic wonders. Artifacts uncovered during archaeologic excavations in the cities of Samsun, Amasya and Zonguldak sheds light to the history of the region.
Ancient city of Tios (Tieion/Tium/Tion), located in the Filyos town of the Çaycuma District of Zonguldak province in the western Black Sea region, is believed to be founded by Miletians in the 7th century. 
Historians believe the ancient city was named after a priest named Tios. However, Strabon indicates that this city inhabited by a tribe named Kaukan was called Tieion. The region was inhabited throughout the centuries by Persians, Romans, Genoese and the Ottomans.  
There is little information about the archaeological history of the city both in ancient records and in contemporary body of archaeological researches.
The visible remains of the city are the coastal defensive walls, aqueduct, amphitheatre, defensive tower and the port with its breakwater.
The acropolis of the ancient city is located immediately to the east of the present Filyos town on a hill with a steep slope .The original architectural form of the defensive wall located on the acropolis will be revealed after research on its foundation completed. Another ruin in the acropolis is a partially destroyed stone building.
The Roman period theatre of Tios is located to the north of the road leading into present day Filyos. Built on a sloping land, local stones were used in its construction. It is mostly ruined and its original stones have been used later in construction of other buildings.
Only a few of the arches of the aqueduct, located to the north of the theatre, are still standing. 200 meters to the west of the theatre there are the remains of another structure: most likely a defensive tower. 
GPR measurements are planned for the future to locate definitely any sub-surface structures. To the west of the acropolis and within the ancient port there are the underwater remains of a breakwater. 
The first archaeological excavation on Tios began in 2006. An excavation team comprising of six Trakya University Archeology department faculty members, three restoration architects, two ceramics and two epigraphy experts, two geophysicians and 20 students, directed by Prof. Sumer Atasoy is carrying out the archeological studies on Tios.
Following surface survey and georadar and geoelectric studies, this year's excavations will focus on the castle, amphitheatre and the bath with an eye to reveal the architectural components of the temple and the bath.
Pottery shreds recovered from the excavation site which date back to 7th Century B.C. will be displayed in the museum of Eregli once the scientific studies over them are concluded.

HADRIANOPOLIS EXCAVATIONS
The ancient city of Hadrianopolis lies three kilometers outside Karabuk's Eskipazar town. Among ruins of the ancient city are cellars, staircases, bath remains and aqueducts.
The exact time of the ancient city's foundation is not known; however, historians believe it was Roman Emperor Hadrian who founded the city. Coins with Hadrian's name engraved on them, that were recovered around the city, support this thesis. It is also credited that the city had been founded before the Romans and may have been restored and habitated in the Roman era.
Kingdom of Bithynia entered Roman rule in the first century B.C. During the Roman era, Hadrianopolis was founded around Eskipazar in Bithynia territory. The ancient city of Hadrianopolis, three kms away from Eskipazar which served as a market place in the time of Kingdom of Paphlagonia, had become an important settlement under the rule of Emperor Hadrian, and its remains reached the present. 
After Roman Empire was divided into two in 395 BC, Hadrianopolis remained under the rule of the East Roman empire until 1085. During this period, Hadrianopolis gained on religious importance and became an archdiocese and was governed under state of Honarias.
The city center of Hadrianapolis is located in the Budaklar village 3kms outside Eskipazar and runs parallel to the Eskipazar-Mengen stateway. During archaeological surface survey carried out in 2005, 14 public structures and various other structures were determined. Among these structures were two baths, two churches, a defensive structure, a theathre-like structure, an arched structure and another one with dome.
Excavations which focused on two of these structures in 2006, continued with 5 others in 2007. In September 2007 Karabuk Preservation Board designated the area as first degree protected site.
The Hadrianapolis excavation team headed by Dokuz Eylul University faculty member, Archeology Professor Ergun Lafli, will begin this year's excavations in August 1 which will last for one month.  The excavation team will focus on restoring some of the structures like baths which were unearthed in past years.
The team will try to cover up the baths. Prof Lafli says looking at the diggings, the city must have been a center for thermal springs.
"We ran into some unmatched examples of the art of mosaic. This is an indicator showing how prosperous and advanced the city was. Around 20 coins belonging to Helenistic, Roman and Byzantium eras were recovered. Also glass theatre tickets, metal weights and bronze accessories belonging to the antiquity were discovered. Over 100 epigraphs were discovered," says Lafli.
Lafli said they left the diggings in their places for now and were planning to turn the sites, especially the mosaic sites in to little museums.

EXCAVATIONS IN SAMSUN AND AMASYA
Oymaagac Hoyuk (Tumulus), is situated on the eastern side of the Kizilirmak, 7 km northwest of in the Vezirkopru district of Samsun and is usually identified with the Hittite city of Nerik.
Nerik was a Bronze Age city to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa. The Hittites held it as sacred to a storm god who was the son of Wurusemu, sun goddess of Arinna. The weather god is associated or identified with Mount Zaliyanu near Nerik, responsible for assigning rain to the city.

Like Hattusa, Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers; in the Hattusa archive, tablet records a Hattic incantation for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesian-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called Puruli in honor of its storm god. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka.
Under Hantili, Nerik was ruined and the Hittites had to relocate the Puruli festival to Hattusa. During the reign of Tudhaliya I, Nerik's territory was occupied by the barbarian Kaskas.
During Muwatalli II's reign, his brother and appointed governor Hattusili III recaptured Nerik and rebuilt it as its High Priest. Hattusili named his firstborn son "Nerikkaili" in commemoration (although he later passed him over for the succession). When Muwatalli's son Mursili III became king, after seven years Mursili reassigned Nerik to another governor. Hattusili rebelled and became king himself.
Nerik disappeared from record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC.
The site was previously investigated by Prof.U.Bahadır Alkim and O. Bilgi. 
In 2005 a team, directed by Rainer M. Czichon and Jörg Klinger of the Freie Universitaet Berlin, began a project to investigate the site in coordination with Turkish universities.
The archaeologic excavation in the site is carried out by Gerda Henkel Foundation, Freie University, Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, Bilkent University, Knodler Decker Foundation, Dresden Technical University, Tepe Knauf with permission of the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
The central Black Sea area is recognized as the homeland of the Hittites, but in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, it was an area of conflict between the Hittites and the Kashka. The main cities in the region were Zalpa (usually identified with Ikiztepe) by the Black Sea and Nerik, the most important cultic city for the Hittites, which was controlled by the Kashka in the 15th and 14th centuries BC. 
The first season of survey carried out in 2006 at the site suggests that the area was more or less continuously settled from the Early Bronze Age to the Iron Age. A 40 to 50 cm destruction level in the south and west profiles of the city may be connected to the conflict with the Kashka, but it is not yet exactly dated. However, there are indicators that Oymaagac is indeed Nerik. It is the only place in the north where Hittite Imperial remains have been found: three fragments of tablets and a bulla with stamps of the scribe Sarini, who is associated with Hattusha and Tarsus. So far, this is the northernmost place of Anatolia with Hittite Imperial remains. Moreover, in the 1970s Bahadır Alkım observed a tunnel constructed like a postern, although it has since been filled with earth.
In the first excavation in 2007 a trench was dug in the temple area and five levels were identified. The first was a Roman necropolis. Below was an Iron Age layer with many pits (more than thirty were found in the one trench). They would have been for grain storage although one was used for storing pottery. The third layer contained a Hittite temple of the Middle to Late Bronze Ages (1800-1200 BC). The structure was constructed out of stone, wood and brick as used at other sites, including Boğazköy Temple I. Wood samples were taken to be tested to refine the dating. The earlier levels can be assigned to the Early Bronze Age and Chalcolithic respectively. 
The first part of excavations in 2009 began in March 26 and lasted for a month. The second part will begin in August and will continue until September 15 as long as the weather conditions allow. 
The excavation team will focus works on the walls which are believed to belong to the temple.
Artifacts unearthed in the excavation which is estimated to last more than ten years are on display in the Samsun Museum of Archeology and Ethnography.

IKIZTEPE
The site of Ikiztepe, 7 km north-west of Bafra and overlooking the Black Sea, has four summits or mounds.
As a settlement, Bafra dates back to the fifth millennium BC. Remnants in the Ikiztepe area revealed signs of habitation during the chalcolithic period (fifth to fourth millennia). These habitations apparently continued uninterrupted until 1700 BC. Early Bronze Age and Early Hittite objects were discovered there and Paphlagonians are known to have lived in Kızılırmak Valley. Persians overtook the region in 546 BC from Lydians. A Hellenistic mausoleum was also found there. The area was ruled in turn by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, Selchuk and Ottoman Empires.
Mound I has 3rd and early 2nd millennium deposits, Mound II has deposits from Late Chalcolithic (5000-4000 BC) to Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC) and Mound III has 11 levels dating back to Early Bronze (EB), Middle Bronze(MB), Late Iron(LI) and Hellenistic periods. 
The site is particularly noted for its wattle-and-daub architecture. U. B. Alkım began excavations at the site in 1974, and since his death in 1981 the project has been directed by Prof. Onder Bilgi. 
There are also 48 tumuli, five rock tombs, three necropoles, one castle, one bathhouse and one bridge in the district. 623 graves were found in one of the necropoles. Scientific cerebral surgeries were noted to have been performed on eight of the persons buried there.
Different from the examples of brain surgery in the Aztec and Ancient Egyptian civilizations, these findings show another method was used, where a flap is opened in the scalp rather than just drilling a hole. This is a major archeological discovery as it is the first samples of this brain surgery method in Anatolia.
The studies on these samples showed that inhabitants of these settlements did not carry the characteristics of the Mediterranean race, but unlike the Anatolian race that lived in Alacahoyuk, descended from inhabitants of Southern Russia or Bulgaria.
Archaeologic studies revealed that people there lived in wooden houses and made their living on fishing, agriculture and animal raising. Discovered weapons and household objects suggest that metallurgy art was highly advanced here. Terracotta weaving devices that were found indicate a rather developed textile trade.
Prof. Onder Bilgin will lead a team of seven experts during this year's excavations which will be conducted over Mound I with a focus on the period between 3000-2400 B.C. and will last for six to seven weeks. Initially, excavation sites will be taken under protection.
Majority of the over ten thousand diggings from the region are on display at the Samsun Archeology and Ethnography museum.

OLUZ HOYUK (AMASYA)
Oluz Hoyuk is situated west of Amasya, 3 km south of the highway to Çorum and 1.5 km west of Oluz village. The mound measures 300 x 250 m and is 15 m high. It was inhabited from Early Bronze to Hellenistic period. Archaeologic studies at the site lead by Assistant Prof. Şevket Dönmez from Istanbul University began in 1998 with a surface survey.

Studies showed that there are three main culture layers in Oluz Hoyuk. The First layer (I) dates back to the Helenistic period. This culture layer which revealed an architectural tradition characterised by houses built from rusticated stonework, its streets and roads, is striking with iron helmets, an iron riton with camel relief, sandstone and terra cotta oil lamps, local and imported pottery and coins. The second culture layer (II) dates back to the Iron Age. Coloured pottery belonging to Phrygian culture and a primitive baby bottle in the shape of a female breast (which show the existence of the influence of mother goddess Kybele in Cenral Black Sea region) was found in this layer. Among other important artifacts unearthed in this layer are a giant crater with deer figures painted on it and pottery belonging to Achaemenid civilization. The third culture layer (III) is dated back to the Hittite civilization; an hieroglyph stone bulla, a bronze sickle, terra-cotta balance-weights and pottery shreds prove that Oluz Hoyuk was one of the major Hittite settlements.
The baby-bottle is a digging never seen before in Anatolia. And the iron military helmet with spiral relief which dates back to 2nd Century B.C. tells alot about the Anatolian art during that era. The helmet also shows that Amasya and Anatolia is an important center for military history.  
This year's works in the excavation site which cover a 112 acre area has already started and will continue until August 25.
A team of 40 people will focus on expand and deepen the sites unearthed during last year's excavations and will do some preservation and restoration work over the ruins.
The excavation is lead by University of Istanbul with the participation of Hacettepe, Trakya, Adnan Menderes and Yeditepe Universities.
Artifacts unearthed in Oluz Hoyuk is displayed in Amasya Museum.

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