Myra is one of the most important ancient Greek towns in Lycia, Turkey Nevzat Çevik, head of the excavation team and professor of archaeology at Akdeniz University in Turkey, told Live Science, “Myra is one of the most important ancient settlements in Lycia.”
As the ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and later Ottomans once lived in the town, Myra remains an important site throughout history. In modern times, the town is home to a wealthy and vibrant Greek population who was forced to leave Turkey during the population exchange between Greece and the country in the 1920s.
Çevik added that the statuettes provide “rich clues about what exists in the mysterious Myra under the thick silt layer of the first and second centuries BC.” Between June and October 2020, the archaeological team was excavating part of a 4th-century Roman theater, and suddenly found a second smaller theater beneath the Roman ruins. The old structure below dates back to the Hellenistic period, from 323 BC-when Alexander the Great died-to the beginning of the Roman Empire in 30 BC.
Researchers discovered a large number of terracotta warriors scattered in the ruins, as well as Hellenistic theaters. “It’s as if the people of ancient Myra came back to life, walked through the time tunnel together, and came to our time,” Çevik told his team when they found the statuette. Turkey has almost countless ancient Greek and Byzantine archaeological and historical sites, many of which attract hundreds of thousands or even millions of tourists every year. Many of them are notable landmarks for tourists to Turkey, especially Greek tourists, because they are undisputed evidence of the long and rich history of the Turkish people and their contribution to Western civilization.
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