01 SEPTEMBRE 2017 NEWS: Demre - Zhaozhou - Perperikon - Aspendos - Tokat -
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TURQUIE – Demre - Local authorities in Demre, a town in Turkey's southern Antalya district that is known as the birthplace of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, have launched a new search to find the remains of the Christian saint after having discovered a new grave site attributed to him. Although the remains of St. Nicholas are believed to have been smuggled to the Italian city of Bari by Italian merchants in the year 1087, archaeologists now have reason to believe that the remains may life in the newly discovered grave site located inside the Santa Claus Museum, formerly an ancient church with a sarcophagus attributed to the Christmas saint. The head of Antalya's Monument Authority Cemil Karabayram told Doğan News Agency that it is not clear if the remains that were smuggled to Bari were truly those of St. Nicholas, adding that officials hope to conclude their search to find his original remains, if they are in Demre, by the end of the year.
CHINE - Zhaozhou - More than 30 relics from China's oldest stone arch bridge have been repaired, the first time such work has been undertaken on it. The items, from Zhaozhou Bridge, are mostly sections of the bridge guardrail. Also known as Anji Bridge, it stands over the Xiaohe River in Zhaoxian county, north China's Hebei Province. It was built in the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618) and is world's oldest open-spandrel segmental stone arch bridge. "During past centuries, the guardrail had fallen into the river," said Li Jinshuan, former head of the Zhaoxian cultural relics preservation office. The current guardrail is a replica made in the 1950s. Since the 1950s, archaeologists have retrieved more than 1,000 pieces of guardrail from the river, which were made during many dynasties from the Sui to Qing (1644 - 1911).
BULGARIE – Perperikon - Archaeologists exploring Perperikon this summer have found interesting bronze jewelry with animal figures, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov told a press conference, quoted by a reporter of FOCUS News Agency.
He said this year's campaign was entering the final 10 days of excavations, but there were already interesting results, including ceramics and coins from the 5-6th centuries and the above-mentioned jewelry from the 12-14th centuries, part of a personal collection. It features animal figures, untypical at that time, such as frogs, birds and others made of high-quality bronze. Archaeologists have also uncovered over 130 graves in the necropolis, which makes a total 500 found so far. Therefore Ovcharov believes the city had several thousand inhabitants in the 12-14th centuries. Unlike metals, the bones are barely preserved. Last year archaeologists uncovered the largest known early-Christian basilica in the Rhodope Mountains – a 35m episcopal cathedral from the second half of the 5th century.
TURQUIE – Aspendos - Two-thousand-year old shops and warehouses were revealed at an excavation site of the ancient Aspendos city, located in the Serik district of Turkey's touristic Antalya province. Excavations in the the area where the ancient warehouses and shops were found started in 2008 with surface surveys, and turned into a ministry approved excavation site in 2014. Associate Professor Veli Köse from Haceteppe University, who oversees the excavations, said he believes valuable materials were sold and stored in the recently discovered area, and that some of the sites might have been used as offices. The proximity of the shops to the city center support his views, he said. Professor Köse also said that a wealth of coins dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, a glass amphora, oil, pieces of perfume bottles, candles, bronze belt buckles, bone hair pins, plenty of nails, rings and gems were found during excavations at the site.Köse said that the coins, made in the 5th century B.C., were widely used during the Hellenistic period.
TURQUIE – Tokat - Water coming out of a hidden tunnel has caused difficulty in the progress of the restoration work on Tokat Castle, also known as the “dungeon of Dracula.” The hidden tunnel, named “Ceylan Yolu,” was discovered during the restoration work, which started in 2009, on Tokat Castle in the northern Anatolian province of Tokat. The tunnel is claimed to be the place where Wallachian Prince Vlad III “The Impaler,” also known as Dracula, who lived between 1431 and 1476, was held captive. The provincial Culture and Tourism Director Adem Çakır said Tokat Castle was built in the city center in the Byzantine era and served as a prison for 300 years. “Ceylan Yolu is a tunnel with stairways. There are similar tunnels in most castles like this. We cannot decide if this place is a hidden tunnel or not because there are [housing] developments on the skirts of the castle. There is a serious rise in the ground level because the waters of Behzat Lake and Yeşilırmak River are rising,” said Çakır. Çakır said they have reached 150 meters in excavations in Ceylan Yolu. “We think we have reached the foundation of the houses on the skirts of the castle. The biggest problem is that there is water in the tunnel. It is a big problem to remove both earth and water. It is not possible to draw water out with a water engine. The work has serious costs. We may stop excavations at the end of the season because we cannot continue the other work on the castle before finishing the excavations in the tunnel,” he said.