Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hecatomnus' Tomb Found in Mylasa

Police in Turkey swooped on a site that was being 'excavated' by looters last week, and made an amazing discovery - a tomb believed, because of its' inscription, to have held Hecatomnus, the eponymous founder of the Hecatomnid Dynasty, and father of Mausolus.

The published English text of the story is a joke (see here), and frankly I found the Turkish version more intelligeable even though I don't speak Turkish ...:  
Kaçak kazıdan yüzyılın arkeolojik buluşu çıktı (with this amazing photo gallery).

Luckily for you, dear readers, I've studied Hecatomnid archaeology in some depth, and I had a copy of Simon Hornblower's wonderful Mausolus (Oxford 1981) to hand. So this is what I have been able to work out ....

Looters have been digging a site adjacent to the temple of Zeus Carius at Mylasa (modern Milas); until Mausolus moved it to Halicarnassus, this city was the capital of Caria, seat of the hereditary king-priests and the location of it's most important cult, that of Zeus Carius.

Last week the police got wind of this, moved in and brought archaeologists with them. These found a tunnel that led to a chamber tomb which in turn held an elaborately carved sarcophagus. An inscription linked it to Hecatomnus, who reigned from sometime before 391 to 377 BC.

I'm a little confused by the measurements. I think the 30 m length must refer to the tunnel? And the 2.75 by 1.85 to the sarcophagus, which sits quite tightly in the chamber.


IuliusAemliusAmbrosius said...

Hello Dorothy,

I was going through my neewsfeeds and this posting caught my eye.

Agreed with the english article.
Lots get lost in translation I guess.
Great discovery...nice pics!

Thanks for sharing.

kodapa said...

This was published this morning:

Jon Strang said...

This was awesome! I was just having a discussion the other day about how confusing that article was. Good work!

Yasar said...

For additional visual material as well further discussion related with this tragic archaeological looting incident (shame on all local authorities in Milas), please see:







Worth to check details of the reliefs, wall paintings and the extremely fine masonry on the passageway leading to the burial chamber. Although, many details would be lost, but online translation sources may be used for following the Turkish texts accompanying the web pages cited above.

Yasar Ersoy

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