Conny Waters – MessageToEagle.com – Archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar report detecting huge ancient structures beneath the 3,000-year-old Zerzevan Castle in Turkey.
Have scientists discovered an enormous ancient underground city or something else? The nature of the ancient structures hidden below the surface remains a matter of speculation at present and archaeologists are eager to begin underground excavations to learn more about this fascinating find.
Archaeologists have discovered the existence of huge ancient structures beneath the Zerzevan Castle. Credit: Adobe Stock – Suzi
The Zerzevan Castle, located in Diyarbakır Province was once a strategic point on the way from Amida (Diyarbakir) to Dara (Mardin), from Edessa (Sanliurfa) to Nisibis (Nusaybin).
The “existence of a castle named Kinabu on the edge of the ancient road which was used for commercial and military purposes, is first asserted in the Assyrian Period (882-611 BC). In the Persian Period (550-331 BC) and today the mentioned road that passes through the territory of Iran, Iraq, and Turkey has been used as “The Royal Road”. The route is of great importance in the expedition of the Roman Empire to the east and the Sassanids to the west.
It is known that the Sassanid armies marched this road during the western campaigns of 359, 502, and 604 AD and captured Zerzevan Castle. So, the hinterland of Zerzevan Castle, which forms the extreme eastern border of the Roman Empire, witnessed great struggles between the two great powers of the time, Rome and Parthians/Sassanids, who wanted to dominate the region economically, politically and militarily.
Zerzevan Castle was a military settlement. The artifacts uncovered by the excavations provide important information about the Roman soldiers, civilians’ daily lives, and the battles. There are architectural remains such as observation and defensive towers (southern tower), churches, administrative building, arsenal, and rock altar in the southern area of the settlement surrounded by city walls. Outside the walls, there are canals, offering bowls and quarries.
In the necropolis area there are rock tombs and vaulted tombs. In the north, street-alleys and houses can be observed. Water cisterns, underground church, underground shelter, Mithraeum and many structures functions of which have not yet been identified are seen within the site.” 1
As reported on Ancient Pages, during previous excavations, archaeologists discovered a “1,800-year-old entrance to the Zerzevan Castle that sheds more light on the history of this structure. The ruins of the castle include remains of its walls measuring 12 to 15 meters (39 to 49 feet) high by 1,200 meters long, its 21-meter-high observation and defense towers, a church, an administration building, residential houses, grain and weapons warehouses, underground sanctuaries, rock tombs, water channels and 54 cisterns on an area of approximately 60 acres (24 hectares).”2
Archaeologists have also discovered many fascinating artifacts, such as for example, 48 ancient lamps dating back around 1,500 years during excavations at the Zerzevan Castle. 3
Ancient lamps discovered during excavations at the site of Zerzevan Castle, Turkey. Image credit: AA
The latest ground-penetrating radar scans undoubtedly piqued the interest of researchers and historians determined to find out what remains hidden beneath the Roman Empire military garrison. The remains below ground are revealing layer upon layer of artifacts, some dating back well into pre-Roman history.
Based on the results of ongoing studies, scientists have reason to think these are massive multistory structures capable of accommodating thousands of individuals beneath the historic castle’s foundations.
“According to Aytaç Coskun, the esteemed head of the excavation team, the project’s nine-year-long endeavor has already uncovered a plethora of historical marvels at the Zerzevan Castle site. The remains of city walls, observation and defense towers, administrative buildings, residences, armories, underground places of worship, cisterns, and an ancient entrance dating back 1,800 years have been successfully unearthed through regular intervals of excavation,” the Daily Sabah reports.
“The digging we’re doing inside the castle walls is 57,000 square meters [68,171 square yards],” he says. “It’s a huge area. And outside of it…is (something) like 10 million square meters (3.86 square miles).”
Two corridors in a 1,700-year-old Roman-era temple belonging to the Mithras religion as part of the excavations conducted in the Zerzevan Castle in southeastern Diyarbakır province in 2018. Image credit: IHA
Coskun thinks it is possible some 1,500 people, both military and civilian, lived here during times of peace. In wartime, he says, it’s likely that some 10,000 people from the surrounding area came here to seek shelter.
“I first came to Diyarbakir in 2005,” he said, “and when I saw this hill, I saw some pieces of artifacts, and I knew no excavation had been done before. So, as soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be a dig because there must be something significant underneath.”
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“We know that we will encounter numerous surprises. Both the ground and underground excavations at Zerzevan Castle take us back to the past, where we will find answers to many unknown questions about that era,” Coskun added.
The upcoming archaeological excavations will hopefully reveal what mysteries are buried beneath Zerzevan Castle.
Written by Conny Waters – AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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