|Metropolis Archeological Excavations|
Sabancı Foundation supports the Metropolis Archeological Excavations undertaken by the Metropolis Supporters Society (MESEDER).
An excavation team led by Assistant Professor Serdar Aybek from the Archeology Department of Thrace University has been running The Metropolis Archeological Excavations, which have been going on since 1990 on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Thrace University. Excavations proceed with a focus on on public buildings and civil spaces that yield clues as to the urban life, while drilling continues so as to reveal new structures.
The ancient city of Metropolis is situated between the Yenikoy and Ozbey villages of the township of Torbali, Izmir. Metropolis Archeological Excavations have enjoyed the support of Philip Morris for more than 15 years. As of 2003, the Sabanci Foundation has begun its contributions for MESEDER in support of scientific excavations.
The history of Metropolis dates back to the Neolithic Age, running through the traces of first settlements, the Classical Ages and the Hellenistic Age, further spanning Roman and Byzantium Empires and culminating in Anatolian Turkish Beyliks and the Ottoman era. Statues, coins, inscriptions, glass and ceramic objects unearthed during the excavation works are now exhibited in Izmir Art and History Museum, Izmir Archeology Museum, and Selcuk Efes Museum.
Upon conclusion of the excavation work for 2016, the number of small artifacts recorded so far totes up to 11.000+.
Glass and Ceramics Unearthed in Excavations Reveal New Clues About Production Practices and Trade Life in the City
A glass production oven thought to be transformed from the furnaces, a part of the Bath where the pools were heated, was discovered in the Roman Bath during excavations continuing throughout 2016. Observing traces of glass production in other parts of the Bath hints that the Bath’s structure having lost its function could have been used as a Glass Production Atelier in the Early Byzantine Period. The location and proximity of the atelier points to the fact that the atelier was established under the control of the Church and was operated in order to meet the needs of the Church.
It also shows that a great number of ceramics, found in the Roman Bath and the sacred site of Zeus Krezimos and appearing to be produced in Ephesos, Knidos, Parion and Athens, were imported and used by the citizens of Metropolis.
A Cult Site Built for Zeus, The Main God of Ancient Helen Mythology, Found in Metropolis
During excavations in 2015, a cult site built for Zeus, the main god of Ancient Helen mythology, has been found in the ancient city of Metropolis as important pieces were unearthed. Recorded as the first and only center of worship located in the city center, this area revealed that other beliefs also existed in the city, known as the City of Mother Goddess. Even more, archeological work shows significant archeological findings related to religious ceremonies and rituals carried out in the sacred area.
Pieces of columns with inscriptions, which indicate that the site was a center of worship, a piece of an altar and a pedestal have been discovered in the excavations in the area. Detailed work by the excavation team revealed that the area was a cult site dedicated to Zeus Krezimos.
Encapsulating the roots of Spa Centers, baths served as centers of attraction and socialization for the Romans
The excavation efforts of 2014 in the gigantic building complex described as the Roman Bath and Palaestra revealed two grandiose halls inside the bath structure. The first hall was the “frigidarium”, one of the most elemental sections of the Roman baths. Also referred to as the “cold-room”, the frigidarium was the section for cold water baths. It stands out with its exquisitely embroiders design as well as its high-quality architectural workmanship. The other hall adjacent to the frigidarium attracts attention with the five rooms that are lined up side-by-side and the mosaic floor, as one of the essential sections of the bath structure.
Archeologists infer that this could be a hall used for invitations and banquets, based on the numerous earthenware and glass artifacts from everyday life.
Mysterious Corridors of the Metropolis
At the end of the 2013 excavation season, of 40-meter-long brick vault corridors constructed in parallel to exterior walls to the north, south and west of the bath structure were unearthed in very well-preserved condition.
The corridors, which were encountered for the first time in the Metropolis, impart clues regarding community life dating back to 2000 years ago. A peculiar feature of the bath structures from the Roman Empire, the structure that was built in parallel to the exterior wall of the bath to function as a service corridor, was used by the staff and attendants employed at the baths.
The Sleeping Beauty of the Metropolis Meets Sunlight
The 2012’s excavations uncovered a 2500-year-old headless woman statue buried in the city walls. The statue was waiting to meet the sunlight for centuries inside the city wall that intersects the Assembly Hall, one of the best-preserved rare examples of Late Hellenistic Period. The statue, 72 artifacts for inventory, and 175 artifacts for study collection have been presented to İzmir Archaeology Museum.
Third Bath in Metropolis Sparks Excitement
Excavations that lasted throughout 2011 season aimed at delineating the extent of expansion and the borders of the city during the Roman era. Accordingly, the excavation work concentrated around the Roman bath in the “Han Yikigi” site, whose excavation was initiated in 2009, as well as the marble courtyard area located to its east. Palaestra (Wrestling Ground), surrounded by mosaics and covered with marble floors, was fully unearthed.
A new bath structure identified in the north of Palaestra was the most thrilling recovery of the season. Including this structure, the total area of the whole complex was calculated to occupy a 1000-square meter space. Pieces of marble and shards of window glass have been unearthed during the excavations. The numerous oil lamps as well as other small artifacts that have been unearthed point towards a vibrant social life in the bath.
The Roman Bath and the Palaestra (Sports Grounds) unearthed
The excavation efforts in 2010 revealed important insight into the remarkable social life in the city. The Roman Bath and Palaestra excavations yielded many building plans, floor mosaics with geometric patterns, and numerous metal, terracotta, bone and glass objects.
The southern border of the “Peristyle House” -a private residence with a marble-lined courtyard mostly unearthed in 2009- was established. Walls from the Late Antiquity that collapsed on the Stoa, the roofed, long walkways along the city in ancient times, were lifted and the western wall was completely cleared. Excavation into the foundation of the ancient structure yielded 2 pithii (storage vessels) as well as sundry ceramics from the Hellenistic era.
Women’s zest for dressing up dates back to centuries ago
In the excavations of 2009, an uncorrupted grave from B.C. 150 was found. Inside was the skeleton of a young woman surrounded by 41 perfume bottles, mirrors, a pair of earrings and stamps.
The Metropolis excavations have been going on for 20 years. Findings from 2009 proved that women’s appetite for dressing up dates back to several centuries ago. For the first time since the beginning of the excavations, the excavation team found the uncorrupted grave of a young woman believed to be about 25 years old based on examinations of the skeleton. Surrounding the skeleton were 41 perfume bottles along with two golden stamps with a Male head and a bee relief on it, a pair of earrings, bronze mirrors as well as cosmetic spoons made from bone and silver- All signs that women’s keenness on dressing up dates back to several centuries ago.
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