İzmir hails big year in archaeology

İZMİR - With thousands of artifacts retrieved from excavation sides, 2008 was a busy year for İzmir’s archaeological agenda. According to figures released by the Culture and Tourism Directorate of İzmir, 143,617 historical artifacts were surfaced from 16 dig sites during 2008, revealing the desperate need of more museums in the city

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The year 2008 was a busy year in İzmir for history boffins and archaeologists with 143,617 historical artifacts being excavated from 16 dig sites throughout the year and 10,125 on display in museums.

Although İzmir is a veritable feast for those fascinated by ancient times, more museums are desperately needed in the region to exhibit the further 133,492 artifacts that remain in storage.

In some cases, there are so many items of significance to be unearthed that excavations have been ongoing for over 100 years. The Culture and Tourism Directorate of İzmir told the Anatolian News Agency that the oldest of the archeological digs within the borders of İzmir is the excavation occurring at Ephesus that began in 1896.

The excavation at Bergama, the location of the ancient city of the same name, dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, began in 1900. Agora of İzmir, a centrum as important as Ephesus and Bergama in ancient times, has been in the process of being excavated since 1936, one of the first excavations to beging during the republican era. The excavation site in Bayraklı, where İzmir was first established, began more recently in 1948 and the dig at the the birthplace of olive oil production, Klazomenai in Urla County, has been ongoing since 1979.

One of the world’s most important oracle sites in ancient times, Claros in Menderes County began in 2000 and the most recent excavation site is at the Yeşilova Mound. Other excavations around Izmir include, the Bergama Ayasuluk St. Jean excavation which began in 1960, the dig at Urla Limantepe that started in 1992 and the Torbalı Metropolis excavation that has been ongoing since 1992.

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Artifacts on exhibition

The artifacts retrieved from these excavation sites and that are on exhibition at the Archeology Museum number 1,775 while the museum has 23,847 artifacts in storage.

The Museum of Ephesus, where a new museum building is being constructed due to the sheer volume of artifacts being unearthed, currently has 804 artifacts on display, while 58,907 artifacts are in storage.

Artifacts in the museums of Tire and Çeşme, and the Ethnography, Atatürk, History and Art musuems are currently suffering the same fate.

Officials say there are enough artifacts in storage to fill more museums and new museums were especially needed in Ephesus and Bergama.

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