Biblical Archaeology Review 42:6, November/December 2016

Archaeological Views: Turkey’s Treasures in Trouble

By Mark R. Fairchild

I’ve visited more than 300 ancient cities throughout Turkey that date back to the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Most of them have never been excavated, and many of them are scarcely known. For some places only the names used by the modern residents remain—the ancient ones forgotten to time. Others are currently underneath modern Turkish cities, but most of them are located in remote, seldom-visited regions.

For protection, many of these villages and towns were built on mountaintops or on strategically located precipices. Over the centuries, trees and brush have covered these sites and have made visitation very difficult. In many instances, there are no modern roads that lead to the sites. At other times, a rutted dirt road or a cow path is all that leads nearby. Directions to these unmarked sites are unclear and difficult to find. Even the best Turkish roadmaps (in a book titled Köy Köy Türkiye Yol Atlasi) mismarks about 40 percent of the ancient sites, by my estimate. To locate these places, my strategy has been to talk to nearby villagers.

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