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Marmaray project sheds light on history
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 12 Oct 2008 Sun 12:02 am

    1. The Ýstanbul Archaeology Museum, which used to suffer from a lack of visitors, now hosts centuries-old artifacts unearthed during excavations for the ongoing Marmaray project, which will link the two rtifacts discovered during the project´s construction phase are currently presented to the public at an exhibition titled "Gün Iþýðýnda -- Ýstanbul´un 8000 Yýlý: Marmaray, Metro, Sultanahmet Kazýlarý" (Under the Daylight -- 8,000 years of Ýstanbul: Marmaray, Metro, Sultanahmet Excavations). Digs conducted in Üsküdar, Sirkeci, Yenikapý and Sultanahmet revealed around 500 items ranging from pottery to coins and from perfume bottles to Ýznik tiles.
      Classified into four sections by area where the items were unearthed, the exhibit reflects the daily lives, beliefs and commercial activities in Üsküdar, Sirkeci, Yenikapý and Sultanahmet. With its labyrinth-like layout, the exhibition features an exciting abundance of centuries-old heritage. When you turn your eyes from the glass showcases to the ceiling, you realize that remnants of pottery are watching you from their black plastic boxes. When you return to the glass counters in front of you, you will hear the combs, dice, bowls, goblets, rings and earrings whisper their own stories.
    2. Artifacts exhibited immediately
      One of the most interesting sites of the excavations was Üsküdar, the Asian-side neighborhood whose ancient name was Kirsopolis. Kirsopolis Bay, an important port in the past, used to stretch inside through the current square. Historical records indicate that Kirsopolis, then a township of Chalcedonia (Kadýköy), was surrounded by city walls. The famous Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi also confirms the records in his "Seyahatname" (Book of Travels), noting that the town was also surrounded with protective dikes stretching to as far as the outskirts of Çamlýca. Historical bazaars and items from the Byzantine and Roman eras were unearthed during excavations in this area, in addition to smaller artifacts from the Ottoman period such as porcelain and earthenware.
    3. Another interesting story in connection with the excavations is about Yenikapý, which was called Langa Bostaný during the Ottoman period. Excavations revealed that this area possessed many items from the Byzantine and the Ottoman eras. A passenger vessel from the ninth century, a commercial vessel from the 11th century, and a number of amphorae that contained olive oil and wine constitute only a partial list of the findings, which also include dishes, nails, nautical items, coins and monies. In addition to 50 Byzantine and Ottoman-era coins, the excavations also revealed golden coins and fragrance bottles from the ninth century. 
    4. Footage of the excavations can be watched on screens mounted to the walls of the museum. Visitors can witness archaeologists trace history in the heart of the city. No doubt the excavations, participated in by both Turkish and international scientists, make enormous contributions to history. If you take the stairs two floors up, you will see another exhibition titled "Kalanlar: 12 ve 13. Yüzyýllarda Türkiye´de Bizans" (The Remnants: Byzantine Empire in Turkey in the 12th and 13th Centuries). The exhibition showcases 100 Byzantine-era items on loan from various museums around Turkey. You can visit these two exhibitions and afterwards take a rest in the shade of the museum´s old plane trees. Runs until Dec. 31. 



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