Mummified skeletons were found in two sarcophagi found during the ongoing excavations in the Hisardere Necropolis in Bursa’s Iznik district.
The excavation of the necropolis continues with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, under the chairmanship of the Iznik Museum Directorate and under the scientific coordination of Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Letters Archeology Department Lecturer Assoc. Dr. Aygün Ekin Meriç.
Assoc. Dr. Meriç, in a statement to reporters, said that the necropolis area was used intensively in 2nd-3th centuries. Stating that the number of sarcophagi reached during the excavation has increased to 6 with the latest excavations, Meriç said, “There are chamber tombs, especially from the 3rd century, unique to Iznik, with no similar in any place, with painted interiors and decorated with ornaments. Two ostentatious sarcophagi, which were discovered during the construction works in this area in the 5th-6th century that there was a damage, are now in the Iznik Museum” he said.
Meriç also shared the information that the sarcophagi will be exhibited in the Iznik Archeology Museum, which is still under construction.
Noting that the skeletons of a woman and a man were found inside the exploded sarcophagus, and a skeleton of a woman was found in the other, Meriç said, “There is a shroud on it, it is completely mummified and is now protected.”
Meriç stated that sarcophagi were unearthed in the illegal excavations carried out in the region since 1989, and that the area was expropriated in 2018 and scientific excavations began in 2019. Noting that they found a small inscription on the mosaic in the basilica, Meriç said, “A woman’s name is mentioned. The basilica was built in honor of the woman. No name, only the feminine epithet preserved. The excavation of the apse part of the basilica was not completed. We will more or less reveal the plan of the basilica in the next period of excavations” he said.
Meriç stated that they understood that the basilica was 30 meters wide and 50 meters long, and that they understood from the course of the walls that it was built in a plan similar to the basilica in Lake Iznik, and said, “The two sarcophagi with Eros relief and this basilica structure were finds that made us very happy during this period.” (Ntv)