28 May 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The tomb of the “Bird Oracle Markos” was found in the ancient city of Pergamon

During the excavations carried out in the Ancient City of Bergama, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the tomb of the Priest Markos, the Bird Oracle of Antiquity, was unearthed.

The ancient city of Pergamon, located in Turkey’s western Izmir province, continues to offer new discoveries.

With the permission of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Bergama Museum, and the German Archaeological Institute continue excavating the ancient city of Pergamon (Bergama).

Researchers discovered burial sites called necropolises in the Asclepion and healing temples dedicated to Asclepius, the first doctor demigod and the son of Apollon. The inscription on the andesite block discovered in the necropolis, where treasure hunters had previously conducted illegal excavations, indicated that a grave belonged to Markos, Trophimos’ son.

Epigraphy (inscription) experts determined that Markos, the owner of the tomb, was a “Bird Oracle” priest who lived in the second century AD.

Pergamon revealed the tomb of the oracle Markos who was known as the Bird Oracle of Antiquity, Photo: AA

Markos, called “augur” and whose main role was a prophecy in the Roman world, interpreted the will of the mythological gods by examining the flight of birds and making predictions about the future based on details such as flight direction, sounds made while flying, and bird species.

Based on bird oracle texts dating back to the 14th century, prophesying by observing birds is thought to have emerged in Hittite culture. It does, however, appear in Hesiod and Homer’s texts from ancient Greece. For example, in Homer’s “Odyssey,” an eagle flies three times with a dead dove in its talons, which is interpreted as Odysseus’ arrival.

The tomb of Markos, who is believed to have prophesied on many issues including political events, included rare artifacts that were buried with the oracle Markos, such as a perfume bottle, a plate, a candle and a scraping tool called a strigilis – used to clean bodies of oil and sand.

After the rescue excavation, the tombs thought to belong to the Oracle Markos and his family were covered.

Professor Ulrich Mania, an archaeologist from the German Archaeological Institute, said that he has been working in the Pergamon excavations for a long time and that the latest findings in Asklepion were also of great historical importance. Stating that besides the excavations, the ground-level research also sheds light on the unknowns of the ancient age, he said: “We came across an illegal excavation site in Asklepion three years ago. We found a few ceramic pieces and a few beautiful stones. Two years after the first discovery, we started excavations with Pergamon Museum.”

An ampulla was discovered in the tomb of Markos, known as "the Bird Oracle of Antiquity. Photo: AA Photo
An ampulla was discovered in the tomb of Markos, known as “the Bird Oracle of Antiquity. Photo: AA

“One of the most important things in the excavation was an inscription on the stone. It was a tomb inscription and the tomb owner’s name was given. Markos, son of Trophimos. We already knew the name Mark because we came across that name during another excavation in the area. It was also on an altar near the Asklepion,” he said.

Unfortunately, Markos’ grave was destroyed by illegal diggers, though the graves in the other two rooms were found in good condition, Professor Ulrich Mania explained.

Emphasizing that there are many necropolises dating back to antiquity, yet this tomb has a special value, Mania said: “There are many tombs in general and we do not know whom they belong to. Maybe we can find bones, ashes or a few burial gifts, yet we do not know the status of the owner of the grave. If it belongs to an oracle, a priest of higher status, this is a milestone.”

Mania stated that they hope to collect important data on both the region and history by the end of the research project with the findings that they have documented.

Related Articles

Artvin Demirkapı/Arılı rock paintings give information about Anatolian Bronze Age Nomadic

14 December 2021

14 December 2021

Rock paintings are material cultural assets that provide us with unique information about the socio-cultural structure, religious beliefs, and rituals,...

In Jerusalem, a 2700-year-old private toilet from the First Temple era was unearthed

5 October 2021

5 October 2021

The Israel Antiquities Authority discovered a private toilet from the First Temple Period on the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem,...

The first Iberian lead plate inscribed with an archaic script was found at Pico de Los Ajos in Yátova

13 June 2021

13 June 2021

At the Pico de Los Ajos site in Valencia, Spain, a rare lead sheet engraved in ancient Iberian was unearthed....

Ruins of the 700-year-old wharf, possibly used by royalty, found in Oslo

6 March 2023

6 March 2023

An excavation by NIKU archaeologists in Oslo’s seaside neighborhood of Bjørvika has uncovered the remains of a long section of...

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...

On a 5,300-year-old skull, archaeologists find evidence of the first known ear surgery

20 February 2022

20 February 2022

Humans may have begun performing ear surgery more than 5,000 years ago, say Spanish archaeologists. Spanish researchers say the skull...

The “Horoscope” Scroll Found In the Judean Desert: A Glimpse Into the Mysterious Sect

26 March 2024

26 March 2024

One of the most interesting and mysterious scrolls discovered in the Judean Desert is a scroll called the “Horoscope.” This...

Paleontologists discovered Super-sized fossil skink

14 June 2023

14 June 2023

According to newly discovered fossils, a giant skink with spiky armor and powerful jaws roamed New South Wales until about...

A secret chamber has been found in the famous Gorham Cave Complex

29 September 2021

29 September 2021

A cave chamber sealed off by sand for some 40,000 years has been discovered in Vanguard Cave inside the Gorham’s...

In northern Iran, a hand-dug passageway was discovered used for military purposes during the Qajar era

1 August 2021

1 August 2021

A hand-dug underground passage dating from the Qajar era (1794-1925), once believed to have served military purposes, has been discovered...

Karahantepe; It will radically change the way we look at the Neolithic Age

1 June 2022

1 June 2022

Findings on settled village life in the ongoing excavations in Karahantepe will profoundly change our knowledge of the Neolithic Age....

Hiker found a place of holy worship at an altitude of 2,590 meters in the Swiss Alps

15 March 2023

15 March 2023

A trekking enthusiast stumbled upon an ancient Roman coin buried in rubble in a remote area high in the Alps...

The first settlement of the Cimmerians in Anatolia may be Büklükale

7 June 2022

7 June 2022

Archaeologists estimated that the first settlement in Anatolia of the Cimmerians, who left Southern Ukraine before Christ (about 8th century...

Christians Supplied Medieval Pagans with Horses for Sacrifice for Funeral Rituals

20 May 2024

20 May 2024

In the late medieval period, pagans in the Baltic region of northern Europe imported horses from neighboring Christian nations for...

2,000-Year-Old Dancing Man Statuette Unearthed in Siberia

6 May 2021

6 May 2021

During excavations for a new bridge over the Ob River in Novosibirsk, Russia’s third-largest district, a ten-centimeter-tall figurine was discovered....