Mummified skeletons found in western Turkey
Mummified skeletons were unearthed in recently discovered sarcophagi (stone coffins) in the Hisardere necropolis (cemetery), Iznik district of Bursa province, Turkey.
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The excavations are being carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under the supervision of Aygün Ekin Meriç, an academic in the Department of Archeology at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir.
Meriç said the necropolis was used extensively during the 2nd and 3rd centuries and the number of sarcophagi has increased to six with recent finds.
Unique chamber tombs dating from the 3rd century have also been discovered, he said, adding that the sarcophagi bear the embossing of Eros, the god of love in Greek mythology.
The Turkish academic said sarcophagi will be on display at the Iznik Archaeological Museum, which is under construction.
Several sarcophagi have been found during illegal digs at the excavation site since 1989, he said.
In 2017, police teams looking for a stolen truck discovered a sarcophagus from the Late Antiquity period in the same neighborhood. Another sarcophagus belonging to a queen was found near the area in 2015.
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It was also believed to be from the Late Antiquity period and weighed seven tons. When it was discovered, authorities discovered that treasure hunters had already found it and looted it.
According to ancient beliefs, people buried in such graves were buried with their favorite possessions as well as a sum of money, a ring and a medallion.
The area where the tombs were found has historically been called the region of Bithynia, which was a Roman province in the 4th century BC. In the 7th century, the area became part of the Byzantine theme of Opsikion.
It became a border region of the Seljuk Empire in the 13th century and was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks between 1325 and 1333.