21.1.17

Principal sarcophagus dated back to 2,200 years ago found in Aigai

A sarcophagus, which has been unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Aigai in the western province of Manisa, was revealed to have been belonged to a school principal after its pieces were reunited.

Yusuf Sezgin, the head of the Aigai excavations and an academic at Celal Bayar University’s archaeology department, said the sarcophagus dated back to 2,200 years ago and it was the first ever one that belonged to a principal in the history of archaeology. 

Aigai in the Yunusemre district, which is one of the 12 cities founded by the people of Aiol in western Anatolia, has a history of 2,800 years. The pieces of the sarcophagus were recently unearthed in the city and reunited with the ones previously found in the same place since 2004. 

As 80 percent of the sarcophagus was compiled, the findings unveiled that it belonged to a principal who was honored three times. The expressions on the sarcophagus will shed light on the history of the ancient city, Sezgin said, adding that it would be exhibited finally after finding its missing parts. 

“The ruins on the sarcophagus tell us something. There are three wreaths on the sarcophagus and each of them has a different meaning. The wreaths indicate that the person in this tomb was honored three times.

 The name of this person is also written in the wreaths. One says ‘Neoi,’ which means he was honored by young people, and the other says ‘Aiollida,’ which means he was honored by the public. This is important for us. The third wreath on the sarcophagus has been damaged so we failed to understand who honored him,” Sezgin said. 

“The tomb also has parchment, papyrus rolls and writing sets, which reveal that the person in this tomb is a teacher. In the ancient ages, there were schools which were called Neoi Gymnasion and were attended by young people. As far as we understand here, the person lying in this tomb is the head teacher of this school. 

Source

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