Ancient bath, church ruins come to surface

Ancient bath, church ruins come to surface

With the water receding in the Bayramiç Dam, ruins of some 1,500-year-old bath and church of the ancient city of Skepsis have come to the surface in Çanakkale.

The water level of dams has decreased in recent years in Türkiye due to drought. One of these dams that suffered the most from drought is the Bayramiç Dam, fed by the Kaz Mountains, in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.

Stating that with the withdrawal of water in wetlands due to seasonal conditions, archaeological remains have come to the surface, Oğuz Koçyiğit, a lecturer at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University’s (ÇOMU) Art History Department, said: “The ruins of the ancient city of Skepsis in Bayramiç have come to light. This is a settlement that we have known for a long time. Studies were carried out about a century ago, especially names such as Heinrich Schliemann and Frank Calvert obtained important results by excavating the area.”

He said that the city gained importance in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. and that it had important structures such as churches and baths in the early Christian or Byzantine eras.

“The bath structure is one of the rare structures we know especially in the Byzantine period and is important because of its decorative features. It gives us information about the architecture, construction techniques, baths and bathing traditions of the period. In this sense, it is important for us that these ruins have come to the surface,” he said.

Speaking about the rescue excavations in the area, Koçyiğit said, “Following the rescue excavations carried out here in 1993 and 1995, the bath and church structure were unearthed, documented and surveyed. But unfortunately, the structures were submerged. It is exciting for us to see these structures resurface after 30 years when the waters receded. Maybe we can complete our missing information with some new observations and investigations we will carry out. We can offer suggestions and solutions on issues such as the condition of the ruins.”

Stating that the city has a Roman past, Koçyiğit said, “In line with the information obtained during the excavations, in the light of the expert reports and scientific articles, we can say that these structures date back to the 5th century A.D. and the 6th century at the latest. Although the ancient city of Skepsis is a much older city, it has a Roman past. Before that, it has a history that goes back to Hellenistic, maybe Classical and Archaic periods.”

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