| 3 January 2009
Ancient graves found accidentally in Turkey
Two ancient graves, dating back to the 7th century BCE, have been uncovered during construction of a cesspool at the house of Mehmet Çoban in the Damlıboğaz village of Muğla's Milas district, which hosts the ancient city of Hydai (Turkey).
First excavated and thought to pertain to a noble family, the ancient graves have human skeletons, prayer pots, ceramic pots, wineglasses, accessories, hunting equipment and candles. The local officials said they were really surprised the graves had been so well preserved. "We have to conduct the works by kneeling down or crawling since the graves are quite narrow. We also try to understand the burying techniques and the traditions," said Erol Özen, director of the local museum. "I think the equipment in the graves will give us important clues about the living conditions of the time.
The police forces will be on guard at the graves since the work will take time. Similar examples of the artifacts in Damlıboğaz only exist at the Sadberk Hanım Museum." Mehmet Çoban was very surprised that the ancient graves were found while digging for a cesspool. Noting that he inherited the house from his father, who inherited it from his father, Çoban said, "We have been living on a cultural treasure for years without knowing it. On the one hand, I am no longer allowed to a dig a cesspool in my house; on the other hand, we have discovered a historical finding of great importance. I really do not know if I should be happy or not."
There is no visible architectural structure on the ground since the alluviums carried by the Sarıçay in the Damlıboğaz village covered it up. The name of the city comes from 'Hydai' meaning 'water' in ancient Greek. Two other graves in the village were found in 2000 through excavation work conducted in collaboration with the Muğla University Department of Archeology and Art History. The works are exhibited at the Milas Museum.
Sources: Dogan News Agency, Hurriyet Daily News (28 December 2008)
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