Archaeology: coins, shells, almond kernels - new finds in Ephesus

In the ancient World Heritage city of Ephesus in Turkey, archaeologists have uncovered a superbly preserved 1,400-year-old early Byzantine commercial and dining district.

Archaeology: coins, shells, almond kernels - new finds in Ephesus

In the ancient World Heritage city of Ephesus in Turkey, archaeologists have uncovered a superbly preserved 1,400-year-old early Byzantine commercial and dining district. The entire household goods in the rooms were sealed by a powerful fire layer, which enables a unique snapshot of the living environment at that time, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) announced on Friday.

So far, several business premises have been uncovered on an area of ​​around 170 square meters. The building complex was in full bloom until the year 614/615 AD, as the coins found there testify. Four gold coins that belong together and several cash registers with over 700 copper coins are particularly spectacular.

According to the information, the excavated rooms are a cookshop, a storage room, a tavern, a shop for lamps and Christian pilgrim souvenirs as well as a workshop with an adjoining sales room. The discovery of around 600 small pilgrim bottles, which were sold to Christian pilgrims and could be worn around the neck, was unique. A rich inventory was also revealed under the layers. This includes crockery in the thousands. The remains of seafood such as cockles and oysters or amphorae filled with salted mackerel were found in bowls. The researchers also discovered pits from peaches, almonds and olives, as well as charred peas and legumes.

"The archaeological finding shows us a massive fire destruction that must have been sudden, dramatic and momentous," said Sabine Ladstätter, director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the OeAW. She has been in charge of the excavations in Ephesus since 2009.

It will no longer be possible to determine the exact day of the destruction, but the evaluation of the fruits found will at least clarify the season. Evidence such as the discovery of numerous arrow and spearheads speak in favor of an act of war as the cause.

Restart of the excavations in Ephesus

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