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The Cimmerians

A team of archaeologists conducting excavations in the ancient city of Antandros in Balıkesir is chasing the traces of the Cimmerians tribe -- the tribe of the fictional character Conan the Barbarian (also known as Conan the Cimmerian) -- who are thought to have lived in the ancient city for about 100 years.

Associate Professor Gürcan Polat, a lecturer with Ege University and the head of the Antandros excavations, told the Doğan News Agency that they were trying to find evidence of the Cimmerian settlement, the name of which is mentioned in the works of Stefanos Bizantios, a late Roman author.
Evidence found so far showed that the Cimmerians didn't settle in a certain place.

"According to Bizantios' works, the tribe lived in Antandros for about 100 years. Yet, this assertion hasn't been proved so far. We want to find evidence of the Cimmerian settlement in our excavations" - Gürcan Polat.

Archaeologists say the ancient city of Antandros holds the potential to become the `Ephesus of the future,` particularly due to its architectural features.
The excavations, which are in their seventh season this year, are continuing at three sites in the ancient city. As yet they have not been able to unveil Roman period official buildings and structures.

"The excavations could gain momentum if more sponsors are found. This year we focused on the restoration of the mosaics and frescos belonging to a previously unearthed Roman villa. Our digs are unveiling the villa's eight rooms that were decorated with mosaics and frescos, as well as its hamam [bath] and toilet area. Our findings indicate that the villa was divided into rooms with walls and was used as a home by more than one family due to economic reasons. The excavations at the Antandros necropolis, which was used as a cemetery between the seventh and first centuries B.C., indicated that adults were cremated and then interred, whereas children under the age of six were not cremated but simply buried. Traces of a thick layer of carbon belonging to the first part of the sixth century B.C. found at the third excavation site, on the other hand, may be traces of a battle that erased the Kimmers from the pages of history at the hands of the Lydians" - Gürcan Polat.

Noting that the sewer system of the villa was constructed in a very skilful way.

"The toilet was constructed over the main sewer system, which was laid down along the hillside, suggesting that a number of houses were built at the site. We therefore assume that a big civilization lived in this area" - Gürcan Polat.

The work on restoring the mosaics and the Roman period villas -- which were unearthed last year -- will last until Sept. 15 and are being conducted by a team of 27 staff led by Professor Sait Başaran from Istanbul University.

"We anticipate that very valuable artifacts will be unveiled at the excavations at the Antandros necropolis" - Gürcan Polat.

The Cimmerians were a warring and nomadic tribe that inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, in what is now Russia and Ukraine, in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. The Cimmerians were the tribe of famous fictional barbarian character Conan the Barbarian, played by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his films.
They are believed to have lived in Antandros for about 100 years until the Lydians chased them out.


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