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Roman-Era Bone Workshop And Statue Heads Found In Turkey’s Ancient City Of Aizanoi

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Archaeologists excavating the city's former agora discovered a bone workshop complete with tools as well as an oil lamp business complete with intact lights.

The Ancient Greek city of Aizanoi, located in what is now western Turkey, has long been recognised as an archaeological treasure trove. Aizanoi is priceless, with one of the best-preserved Zeus temples and a theatre-stadium complex, as well as statues of Greek deities. It most recently yielded two Roman-era workshops and statue heads that give new information on ancient city life.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, these most recent digs were led by Kütahya Dumlupinar University archaeologist Gökhan Coskun. His crew discovered an oil lamp shop, as well as a bone workshop where ancient occupants manufactured art and everyday objects like spoons and hairpins.

The discovery came after an excavation in August yielded a headless figure of Hygieia, the Greco-Roman goddess of healing. Aphrodite and Dionysus' stone heads were discovered in a nearby creek a few months later by specialists. The workshops, on the other hand, provide insight into ordinary life in the city.

"Findings from both businesses indicate that local products were created in Aizanoi," Coskun explained. "It is an important discovery for us that significant production activity took place in Aizanoi during the Roman era."

The earliest evidence of Aizanoi's existence dates back to the third millennium B.C. The ancient city was held by several Anatolian cultures — from the Phrygian people and kingdom of Pergamon to the kingdom of Bithynia — until it was conquered by Rome in 133 B.C.

Aizanoi later thrived as a regional economic hub, producing commodities ranging from cereal and wine to wool and stone items. Coskun had previously investigated the city but had never discovered anything exactly like the bone workshop excavated from the agora — a public place utilised by Ancient Greeks for markets and meetings.

"Thousands of bone bits were discovered inside one of the stores during the excavations," he claimed. "The majority of them were cattle bones." It is believed that some of these pieces were utilised as raw materials and were never treated, while others were started but remain half-worked and incomplete."

"Some of the processed parts were converted into artworks." According to what we know, there was a local bone workshop in Aizanoi during the Roman period, which was located in the agora. It functioned as both a workshop and a sales shop. Among the processed bone items were largely hairpins and spoons for ladies."

Coskun noted that the parts of the agora he chose for excavation had never been investigated previously. He discovered an oil lamp business in one portion of the former assembly room after discovering a never-before-seen bone workshop in another. Surprisingly, many of them have remained intact for millennia.

"We discovered many undamaged and broken oil lamps used as lighting tools in the ancient period during the excavation of the other shop," Coskun stated. "We can tell that the majority of these oil lamps were in use. This demonstrates that not only were oil lamps marketed here, but oil was poured into and burned in oil lamps at the time."

Last month's discovery of Hygieia's headless statue and subsequent retrieval of two stone heads was probably just as spectacular. Numerous Greek myths presented Aphrodite and Dionysus, the goddess of love and the deity of wine, as lovers. Coskun feels that those discoveries foreshadow more to come.

"These are significant results for us because they demonstrate that the polytheistic culture of Ancient Greece lasted for a long period without diminishing in importance during the Roman era," he said. "The discoveries indicate that there could have been a sculpture workshop in the area."