A 2,000-year-old male head sculpture and a fragment of the mythological goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, have been unearthed during the excavations carried out in the ancient city of Aizanoi, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, in the Çavdarhisar district of the western province of Kütahya.
The head of the excavations, Professor Gökhan Coşkun said that they had found 70 statue fragments belonging to mythological gods and goddesses in the area.
The ancient city dates back to the 3000s B.C. and is believed to be one of the metropolises of the ancient period with its historical structures such as theater, stadium, agora and Zeus Temple. This year’s works focus on Penkalas Stream. Coşkun said that they came across new finds in the wreckage of bridge No: 3 during this year’s excavations.
“When we examine what we can identify from the statue pieces, we see pieces that may be related to many gods and goddesses of mythology. We also continue to find statue fragments of sacred creatures such as sphinxes [mythical creatures] of other auxiliary figures in the cults of gods and goddesses. We identified 30 percent of the architectural blocks of the bridge No: 3. This season, we started to find more blocks of the bridge. Although we went 1.5 meters deeper than the bottom of the stream, where the bridge debris was found, we still continue to find blocks. The bridge probably collapsed because of a flood. During the excavation of this area, various sculpture fragments began to appear since last year. We continue to find various statue pieces again this year,” he said.
Coşkun stated that they recently found a male head and the lower part of the statue of Aphrodite, whose identity has not been determined yet.
“The height of the male head is 46 centimeters. This makes us think that the statue it belongs to is about three meters high. This male head was made of marble and the back of the head was broken. The face is very well processed and has a quality workmanship. We have yet to identify this male head. There are some characters we suspect, but we can’t tell their identity because we can’t get any definitive data.”
“Another is the statue fragment of Aphrodite, known as the goddess of love and beauty. However, this piece of sculpture is not as large as the other. We can say that it belongs to a one-meter statue. There is a dolphin figure next to Aphrodite, whose lower part of the knee is preserved. The dolphin figure is also associated with the sea god Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite in mythology. However, we know that this statue is of Aphrodite. Aphrodite statues with a dolphin figure beside her feet are known in this style, and Aphrodite found in Aizanoi is in perfect harmony with such examples,” Coşkun said.