While 6 more human skeletons were found during the excavations in İzmir, the number of skeletons increased to 12. Head of Excavation Assoc. Dr. Sinan Mimaroglu, ”The skeletons belong to the last Byzantine period. Burying around the church is a very natural practice in Christianity. Being buried around the sanctuary is seen as a privilege. Here we encountered a large amount of skeletons buried on top of each other. Their DNA is being studied. “As we continue to receive data on their origins, we will have important results,” he said.
With the support of the Turkish Historical Society and Izmir Metropolitan Municipality by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hatay Mustafa Kemal University Art History Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. Six new human skeletons were found during the excavations of the Church of Saint Jean on Ayasuluk Hill in the Selcuk district of Izmir, led by Sinan Mimaroglu. The number of skeletons found in the region increased to 12, together with the 6 skeletons previously found in different parts of the church.
‘IT IS A PRIVILEGE TO BE BUILT AROUND THE HOLY BUILDING’
Head of Excavation Assoc. Dr. Sinan Mimaroglu said, “The skeletons found in the areas at the northern entrance of the church belong to the late Byzantine period. Burying around the church is a very natural practice in Christianity. It is seen as a privilege to be buried around the sacred structure. Here we encountered a large amount of skeletons buried on top of each other. Studies created the first data. This year, we saw that burials continue from the same area, but at a lower level. There are 6 individuals buried intensively on top of each other. Age and gender will be revealed from these individuals, and genetic research will continue during the period. Anthropologist and “The DNA of these skeletons is being studied by geneticists. I think we will have important results as we continue to receive data on their origins.”
‘It is a pilgrimage center for Christians’
Providing information about the structure of the region where archaeological excavations continue, Assoc. Dr. Mimaroglu said, “We are talking about an area that has been inhabited with little interruption from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Period. The most important surviving structure today is the church where the tomb of St. John is located. This place is a pilgrimage center for Christians. Ayasuluk Castle is Byzantine. It was built in the period of the Aydinogulları Principality and has survived with the repairs and additions made during the Aydinogulları Principality. When we look at the settlement scheme in the early periods, we see that this place was matched with Apasa in the Hittite Period. The data about this is increasing day by day. Therefore, we can see that there was a settlement here in the Early Bronze and Late Bronze Ages. “We know this. With the spread of Christianity from the late Roman period, the region has become a very important center,” he said.
‘A CONTEMPORARY, MONUMENTAL BUILDING IS BUILT WITH HAYASOFIA’
Noting that the religious meaning of the church is intense, Assoc. Dr. Mimaroglu said, “It is believed that the Virgin Mary and St. John came to Ephesus. Therefore, St. John lives here, writes the Bible here and dies here. It is known that there was a basilica tomb here during the Theodosius period. In the 6th century A.D. “A contemporary, monumental building is being built. It represents an imperial structure in terms of its period. The fact that it is contemporary with Hagia Sophia and the materials used show us the importance of this place. This is actually the place where the tomb of a very important saint is located.”
‘TWO-STOREY BUILDING DETECTED WITH JEORADAR UNDER GROUND’
Stating that the excavation works started in 1922, Assoc. Dr. Mimaroglu said, “We are an excavation that has been over 100 years with intervals. We had some aims for certain questions in the excavations here. The first of these was for the places to the north of the church. We conducted a georadar study in this area and we found that there is a 2-storey building under the ground. “I think it will reveal unknown data about the ritual performed here,” he said.
‘RESULTS ARE EXPECTED FOR THE FIRST CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHURCH’
Stating that another excavation work took place inside the church, Assoc. Dr. Mimaroglu said, “A study for the first construction of the church is taking place. We have had a sounding work here. No research has been carried out on the ground on which the church sits. The data we obtained are being evaluated. According to these data, we think that important results will be obtained regarding the first construction of the church, which has not been known until now. ‘ he said.