24 July 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Unprecedented necropolis site found in Cappadocia, one of Türkiye’s most important tourism centers

In Cappadocia, located in the Central Anatolia Region of Türkiye, known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches, and houses carved into the rocks, an unprecedented archaeological discovery of a necropolis, unlike the distinctive rock-craved graves, was uncovered.

Excavations in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir began two years ago, following the closure of the region’s open-air museum due to archaeologists’ suspicions about potential new discoveries in the area.

Graves appear throughout Cappadocia‘s cave churches. These are oval pits dug into the floors and walls of churches to bury dead saints. Graves were often part of the original design of the church. In such cases, an arched recess (acrosolium) was carved into the wall for the deceased’s body.

However, most graves were carved into the floor after the completion of the church. Occasionally, the geological landscape required graves to be outside the church. For example, Karabulut Kilise (Zemi Valley, Göreme) was carved into a singular fairy chimney; therefore its graves are around the outside. The unique “graveyard” near Deer Monastery (Geyikli Monastir, Soğanlı) is six fairy chimneys covered with acrosolia.

In front of the Tokalı Church (Buckle Church) in Cappadocia, a necropolis area without rock-carved graves was reached for the first time.

North Wall and Side Church of Tokalı Church (Buckle Church).
North Wall and Side Church of Tokalı Church (Buckle Church).

“Currently, in front of the Tokalı Church, for the first time in Goreme, we have reached a necropolis area that is not a rock-carved grave. The most recent discovery was a child’s grave with various artifacts. We will exhibit them in our Nevşehir Museum when the works are completed,” Cappadocia site head Birol İnceciköz stated.

“We came across various findings exactly as we predicted in the excavations. The cellar, kitchen and workshop areas of the Balkonlu Church located just above Tokalı Church, were uncovered,” said Birol İnceciköz.

Tokali Church is an enormous church crafted into the rock near the Göreme Open Air Museum. Because of its sheer size, impressive underground chapel, and ninth-century frescoes that depict the life of Christ, it is regarded as even more remarkable than the numerous other carved churches in the vicinity.

The road connecting the towns of Ortahisar and Göreme, built in 1956, was closed two years ago when a new road was commissioned. Excavation works, which began on the old road, continue with consultation from the Art History Department of Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University.

Excavation work continues in the area.
Excavation work continues in the area.

“We know scientifically that the archaeological sites yield larger areas. We will reveal the area of Göreme Open Air Museum in a larger area and present it to visitors as an archaeopark,” İnceciköz said.

The excavation project is a part of the “Heritage for the Future” initiative, which includes the excavation in front of the Göreme Open Air Museum and the ancient city of Sobessos in Ürgüp.

The project plans to open an area in Göreme in 2025 and expand further in 2026. Additionally, Cappadocia authorities are actively combatting illegal construction in the region, having eliminated nearly 500 illegal structures to date.

İnceciköz highlighted the importance of preserving the region’s natural landscape and stated, “This region is very important. We are fighting against the elements that cause irreversible damage. Among our determinations, we identified 600 illegal structures. We have notified all relevant parties and have removed the first stage of these within the last 15 days.”

Related Articles

A Roman sarcophagus containing two skeletons was found in Bath, England

29 June 2021

29 June 2021

Stone walls, a Roman sarcophagus, and a cremation burial have been unearthed in a renovation project at the Bathwick Roman...

Huge Ancient Roman Public Baths in ‘Excellent’ State Discovered in Augusta Emerita

23 July 2023

23 July 2023

In Mérida, Spain, archaeologists have discovered a “massive” Roman bathing site in “excellent” condition. The discovery was found in the...

The Amazon rainforest was once home to ancient cities – A vast network of 2,500-year-old garden cities

12 January 2024

12 January 2024

Aerial surveys have revealed the largest 2,500-year-old ancient cities in the Amazon, hidden for thousands of years by lush vegetation...

Queen Kubaba: Some 4,500 years ago, a woman rose to power and reigned over one of the largest civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia

28 December 2023

28 December 2023

Is it possible to say who was the first queen in history? Given the size and diversity of human civilization,...

INAH Archaeologists recover the coyote-man of Tacámbaro

26 January 2022

26 January 2022

Archaeologists win the coyote-man trial that lasted 30 years in Mexico. The litigation regarding the coyote-man of Tacámbaro, an important...

New insight into the history of human presence in Paveh county, Kermanshah province, which is located in western Iran

22 August 2021

22 August 2021

Stone tools and animal bones unearthed recently have thrown new insight into the history of human presence in Paveh county,...

The earliest human remains 11,000-year-old discovered in northern Britain

25 January 2023

25 January 2023

An international team of archaeologists at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has discovered 11,000-year-old human remains in the Heaning...

4000-year-old Temple With A 2.30 Meters Central Monolith Discovered in Cyprus

9 July 2024

9 July 2024

An Italian archaeological mission, the Erimi Archaeological Project of the University of Siena, discovered a 4,000-year-old temple in Cyprus. This...

2800-year-old settlement discovered in Vadnagar, India

17 January 2024

17 January 2024

An excavation in Gujarat’s Vadnagar, about 900 km southwest of New Delhi, India, has found the remains of a settlement...

Sacred Hill of Moon God Sin “Sogmatar”

23 June 2022

23 June 2022

Sogmatar, Şanlıurfa is 53 kilometers from Harran. It is located in Yağmurlu village, where there are important springs in the...

Shocking Images Appeared As The Waters Recede

8 February 2021

8 February 2021

As the dams recede, the remains of the flooded settlements come to light. This time Kayseri witnessed these images that...

A 2,000-year-old Roman sewage system has been discovered in western Turkey

19 September 2021

19 September 2021

The archaeological excavations carried out in the ancient city of Tripolis in the western province of Denizli’s Buldan district have...

Southeast Asia’s oldest stringed instrument may be a 2,000-year-old antler

21 February 2023

21 February 2023

Archaeologists unearth a 2,000-year-old stringed instrument made from deer antler in southern Vietnam. This unusual deer antler may be one...

3500-year-old mysterious hieroglyphs discovered in Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa deciphered

12 October 2023

12 October 2023

Some of the Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered last year in the Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa, the former capital of the Hittite...

Mustatil Structures in Arabia May Be 7,000-Year-Old Stone Remnants of Cattle Cult

1 May 2021

1 May 2021

Archaeologists examining the mustatil stone remains in the northwest of Arabia think that these stone remains may have been used...