Statues of Greek Gods Uncovered in Ancient City of Aizanoi

Stone head

One of the discoveries. Kütahya Dumlupınar University Press and Public Relations Consultancy Twitter (@dpubasin)

Archaeologists from Kütahya Dumlupınar University have unearthed several statues and heads of statues depicting Greek gods in the ancient city of Azanoi in central Turkey, according to a statement released by the university last week.

Stone heads of Eros, Dionysus, Herakles, and others were uncovered, as well as a full statue of an unidentified hero of Azanoi, of which there are many. The statue measures at over two meters, or just over six and half feet, and is missing a few chunks from its pedestal and foot.

“I hope that we will find this missing piece of the statue in the works we will do in 2023,” said Dr. Gökhan Coşkun, who is leading the excavations, in the statement.

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Coşkun said that he had also hoped that the head of Herakles that the team had found would match a statue of the body of Herakles that had been discovered last year, but alas, it was not a fit. The researchers are on the lookout for the missing pieces to two different statues. There is an abundance of materials still being uncovered, making the prospect of locating these pieces quite possible.

“We reach new works every day,” Dr. Gökhan Coşkun continued.

The complete statue that was found at the Azanoi excavation. (@dpubasin)

Archaeologists from Kütahya Dumlupınar University took over the excavation of Azanoi in 2021 and, since then, have uncovered numerous treasures, such as fragments of statues depicting Aphrodite, Herakles, and Dionysus. They also began excavating the ruins of an ancient bridge. Before the archaeologists from Kütahya Dumlupınar University took over the dig, archaeologists with Pamukkale University had carried out the previous excavations in the region.

Though the city of Azanoi, and Phrygia, the kingdom to which it belonged, may be unfamiliar, it was the seat of power of many a legendary king, such as Midas, Mygdon, who battled the Amazons, and Gordias. The Phyrgians participated in the Trojan War and Phrygian music is seen as the originator of Greek music. This cross-pollination with Greek culture is the reason why so many temples and statues to the Greek pantheon are present in the region, despite Phrygians having a different language and their own ancient gods.

Azanoi would eventually become an important trade city in the Roman empire, located near the Aegean Sea in modern day Turkey, and it possessed one of the first stock exchange markets of the world. Today, the city is being considered for a UNESCO designation.

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