During the first week of the new year the archaeology students of Philipps-Universität Marburg embarked on an excursion to Bodrum Turkey to visit the site of the famous Mausoleum, nearby ancient ruins, the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, and the headquarters of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
2 January: Flying
What is there to say about a sky-bus?
3 January: The Mindos Gate & A visit to Pedasa
The Mindos Gate of Halicarnassus stands at the entrance of the ancient city. Reconstructed by archaeologists, the gate is testament to the might of the walls and of the city itself under the king Mausolus. Marburg student Sophie Schlosser gave a presentation about the gate, and afterwards the group explored the nearby necropolis on a beautiful sunny morning.
After a lunch of Manti, Turkish ravioli in a garlicky yogurt sauce, the group proceeded to the inland site of Pedasa, where ruins of tombs and the acropolis have been the subject of excavation and are now preserved in a park. Hiking up and down hills, we saw a tomb dating back to the archaic period and ruins of buildings from the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods.
4 January: The Mausoleum & Theater
Another gorgeous Aegean day brought the group to the Mausoleum. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum towered 14 stories above the city, a fitting monument to the great king of Halicarnassus. Destoyed in an earthquake, the Mausoleum lay in ruins, picked over for building material, especially during the tenure of the city of the Knights of Saint John who used quite a number of pieces in the construction of the Castle of Saint Peter. Excavations by the British brought a number of the sculptures to the British Museum where they still reside, so all that is left to see is a depression in the ground, some stone walls, and the ruined burial chamber, among a few interesting architectural elements. No one knows quite how the Mausoleum appears, but based on some coinage depictions, descriptions, and comparisons with other earlier and later tombs, we now have a good idea. Time for a full scale reconstruction perhaps?
The theater of Halicarnassus sits on the slope of a hill above Bodrum. It has been cleaned and partially reconstructed. The view from the top is quite amazing!
5 January: The Bronze Age Hall & The Institute of Nautical Archaeology
Rain, and our first visit to the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which included a welcoming speech by the Director Yaşar Yildez, and a presentation by Museum staff. We toured the Bronze Age Hall in part, saving the remainder for later. After lunch we visited the headquarters of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology for a tour of the facilities and the laboratories.
6 January: Milas
More rain, and lots of it.
Ancient Milasa is the site of the recently discovered and sadly recently looted tomb of the father of Mausolus. Standing on a hilltop now lost in the midst of squalid buildings, the tomb was drilled into by a group intent on stealing the artifacts within. They succeeded. The robbers were ultimately caught, but the artifacts have vanished into the black market of antiquities. The tomb remains and is wonderful to see. It provides good comparative material for the study of the Mausoleum itself.
7 January: In the Museum
This day was spent entirely in the museum (mostly out of the never-ending rain) discussing the shipwrecks. Quite a bit of time was spent with the Bronze Age Shipwreck from Uluburun. This, the world’s oldest shipwreck yet found, was the subject of excavation from the mid-80s to the mid-90s and has revolutionized our knowledge of Late Bronze Age seafaring and trade. Marieke Gnändiger gave a presentation on the shipwreck from Tektas Burnu in the afternoon, explaining the nature of the ship, its marble eyes and the pottery/trade goods on board.
8 January: Museum and Yalikavak
The morning saw the group back in the museum for a session with the Seventh-Century Wreck from Yassiada. The full scale replica of the galley and part of the stern of the ship was an excellent tool for relating shipbuilding technology as well as impressing the size of the vessel on the group- its one thing to read about these, its another to acutally experience it in person!
The afternoon was free time, and a personal opportunity to go to Yalikavak to see camel wrestling. Rain, sadly, caused wrestling to be canceled, but we got to see the research vessels of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology: the Virazon and Millawanda. With a lunch of lentil and chicken soups, and a stray dog named Chuckles to accompany our little group, it was a fine day!
9 January: Euromos and Exit
Leaving Bodrum (and we all wanted another week there, if for no other reason than Bodrum is a great place), we stopped at the site of the Temple of Zeus at Euromos. Nestled in an olive grove, this second century AD temple overlooks a broad plain reaching to the far mountains. The view, the aroma of ancient damp marble, the mid-morning sun shining faintly on the columns capped off an extraordinary trip. All that remained was the ride on the sky-bus.