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12 January 2022, 09:19

Bowl used for sacred purposes unearthed in Turkiye's ancient Dara city


MARDIN, 12January (BelTA - Anadolu Agensy). - An ampulla, a two-handled round bowl used for sacred purposes, made of 1,400 years old clay, was unearthed in one of the most important trade centers of ancient Mesopotamia, the ancient city of Dara in southeastern Turkiye.

The 1,400-year-old ampulla features the figure of Menas of Egypt and a camel figure on the sides of the bowl, and pilgrimage motifs on the top.

Excavations and research have been carried out for more than 30 years in the Oguz neighborhood of Mardin province, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from the provincial center.

The ruins of the ancient Dara city have been compared to the famed city of Ephesus in Turkiye's Aegean region, earning it the nickname the Ephesus of Mesopotamia, the breadbasket of the ancient Near East.

Also, speaking on the importance of the latest finding, head of the excavation team Huseyin Metin said Menas of Egypt​​​​​​​, which appears as a figure on the ampulla, was born in Egypt some 1,400 years ago and killed due to his Christian faith during the Roman era.

He noted that the ampulla is very important because a material, produced in Abu Mena, some 31 kilometers (19.2 miles) from Alexandria, Egypt, is found in the ancient city of Dara.

An ampulla has different forms, particularly in western Anatolia, he said, adding that the ones produced in Egypt's Abu Mena region have a very standard form, with not many examples in Anatolia.

So, the Ampulla shows that Dara had an international commercial and religious network in the 6th century, he said.

Excavations began in 1986

The ancient city, founded by the Eastern Roman Empire to protect their border against the Sasanian or Neo-Persian Empire, is a favorite spot for tourists to take photos or newlyweds to pose for their wedding or honeymoon amid historical splendor.

The archaeological excavations began in the ancient city in 1986, but only some 10% of the area of an ancient village has been unearthed so far.

Over a period of 25 years, archaeological digs slowly revealed a monumental mass graveyard or necropolis.

A cistern located some 25 meters (82 feet) under a village house in Dara, which has drawn comparisons to Istanbul's famed Yerebatan Cistern and that the villagers call the "Dungeon," was cleaned and unearthed over painstaking work of around 15 years.

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