1 March 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Ancient reliefs become target of treasure hunters

An academic has cautioned that urgent protection is required for the historic Adamkayalar (Men of Rock) reliefs in the southern province of Mersin, which have been vandalized by people looking to find supposedly hidden treasures.

Adamkayalar (“adam” means men and “kaya” means “rock” in Turkish meaning man-rocks) is a place consisting of reliefs and figures made on the slopes of the Şeytan Deresi Canyon (Devil Creek Canyon), in a strategic position overlooking Kızkalesi in Mersin.

In terms of size, workmanship, and story, it is a rare value not only in Türkiye but worldwide.

It is comprised of two main locations. The first is the rock reliefs carved into the rocks of Devil Creek Valley, and the second can be found in the northeast section of the valley, where remnants of castles, bastions, and settlements still remain.

“Adamkayalar holds significance on par with the Nemrut and Göbeklitepe regions. Therefore, it is imperative that Adamkayalar be promptly designated as an archaeological site. A project should be devised and immediately put into action,” said Murat Durukan, the chair of the Archaeology Department at Mersin University.

Stating that Adamkayalar, located 60 kilometers west of the city possesses an immense potential as a tourism magnet, Durukan pointed out that this potential remains underutilized, and with the implementation of facilities, security measures, cameras, and lighting systems, Adamkayalar could be transformed into a unique destination.

“These are relatively simple projects. If we put them into action without delay, we can confidently say that both Mersin and Anatolia could gain a new tourism attraction,” he added.

Archaeologists think that the people depicted on the reliefs represent the kings and queens of the Ancient State of Olba and the purpose of these was to commemorate the dead.

There are 19 figures in 9 niches (cavities) in Adamkayalar. These 19 figures consist of 11 men, 4 women, 2 children, 1 mountain goat and 1 eagle. These reliefs depict various scenes in a story-telling manner. Each of the figures, such as the soldier’s farewell scene, the ritual scene, the dead feast scene, the scene where a man holds a bunch of grapes in one hand and holds a goat by the horns with the other, has a different story.

In one of the reliefs, a figure is depicted pouring a liquid from the jug in his left hand into the bowl in the other hand, and this depiction gives us information about the presentation of liquid, which is among the ancient burial traditions.

Especially the cult of commemoration of the dead comes to the fore here. The inscriptions under the reliefs provide information about the name of the important person who died or the name of the person who made this relief. Based on these inscriptions, it is understood that the last version of the reliefs was completed in the 2nd century, during the Roman Empire. It is understood that the reliefs were completed in approximately 250 years, and the artistic style change in the construction of the reliefs is noticed due to the long duration of their construction.

Thanks to the relatively difficult transportation, Adamkayalar, which has been very well preserved until recently, was destroyed by some treasure hunters in 2015.

Although it was stated that there would be no items of financial value for treasure hunters in Adamkayalar, this statement was not sufficient. However, it is known that people of that period made their graves in other places that no one knows against the risk of theft, and this knowledge puts the famous reliefs in danger of extinction.

Related Articles

Archaeologists Unearthed Third Greatest Fire Temple Existing in Ancient Iran’s Sassanid Era

11 July 2022

11 July 2022

Archaeologists have unearthed ruins of what they believe to be the third-greatest fire temple in ancient Iran during the Sassanid...

Four 1,900-year-old Roman swords found in Judean Desert

6 September 2023

6 September 2023

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery of four extremely well-preserved Roman swords hidden in a cave in the...

Evidence of Rare Romano-Celtic Temple Near Lancaster Castle -may be only the second of its type –

10 March 2023

10 March 2023

A study exercise for students from Lancaster University has uncovered a Romano-Celtic temple, only the second of its type in...

Evidence of the oldest hunter-gatherer basketry in southern Europe discovered in Spanish Cave

29 September 2023

29 September 2023

A team of scientists has discovered and analyzed the first direct evidence of basketry among hunter-gatherer societies and early farmers...

Archaeologists discover the Americas’ oldest adobe architecture

7 December 2021

7 December 2021

On the north coast of Peru, researchers have discovered the oldest adobe architecture in the Americas, constructed with ancient mud...

An Ampulla was discovered for the first time in the ancient city of Dara, Turkey

11 January 2022

11 January 2022

An ampulla was found for the first time in the ancient city of Dara, located in the province of Mardin...

DNA Elucidates Mysteries of the Iron Age Log Coffin Culture in Thailand

9 February 2024

9 February 2024

The Northwestern Thailand highlands region of Pang Mapha is dotted with dozens of caves that contain some incredibly odd prehistoric...

Rescue work begins on a 160-year-old shipwreck, the largest and best-preserved wooden shipwreck ever discovered underwater in China

3 March 2022

3 March 2022

Rescue work has begun on a 160-year-old shipwreck in China, the largest and best-preserved wooden wreck ever discovered underwater. This...

First Human Traces Buried in an Ancient Gold Mine in Eastern Sahara

2 May 2021

2 May 2021

Some of the earliest signs of human life dating back 1.8 million years have been discovered in an old gold...

Archaeologists Discovered Submerged Stoa Complex in Ancient Salamis, Greece

27 October 2023

27 October 2023

Archaeologists exploring the east coast of Salamis, the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, discovered a large, long, and...

Silver coins found near the ruins of the medieval monastery in Holy island

10 November 2021

10 November 2021

Archaeologists have discovered a silver coin on Lindisfarne, known as Holy Island, in the northeast of England. Dig Ventures is...

Ancient fish processing factories were discovered in ancient Roman city of Balsa, Portugal

18 July 2022

18 July 2022

In the Roman city of Balsa, one of the most important and symbolic archaeological sites in southern Portugal, archaeologists have...

The Kyrgyz epic ‘Manas’ manuscripts were included in the UNESCO Memory of the World

10 June 2023

10 June 2023

Manuscripts of the Kyrgyz epic “Manas” by narrator Sagymbay Orozbakov have been inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World...

Copious Copper Supplies Made Cyprus a Trading Center in the Bronze Age

23 March 2023

23 March 2023

Cyprus was a surprisingly busy trading hub during the early period of international trade in the Mediterranean region. Its awe-inspiring...

Archaeologists uncover a 1,500-year-old Lost Mayan city in the Yucatan

28 May 2022

28 May 2022

Researchers have presented their findings after discovering the remnants of an ancient Mayan city on a building site in Mexico....