2,300-year-old sacred apse discovered in ancient Chalcedon in Istanbul – ARTnews.com
During an excavation at the historic Haydarpaşa Station in Istanbul, archaeologists uncovered a semi-circular apse – a structure commonly associated with ancient churches – dating from the 3rd century B.C. It is the latest find on the site of the ancient port city of Chalcedon by a team led by archaeologist Mehmet Ali Polat. According to the Turkish publication Hurriyet Daily News, who first reported the news is perhaps the oldest building excavated at the site so far.
Although archaeologists are still unsure of the specific function of the newly discovered apse, they believe the area would have been sacred. In ancient architecture, an apse was often located at the end of an alley, where a recessed niche could contain the statue of a deity. The building where the apse was discovered could have functioned as a shrine or perhaps even a mausoleum.
Chalcedon, also known as Khalcedon, was founded by Greek Megarian settlers on the eastern side of the Bosphorus Strait in 685 BCE. its west bank which eventually became the city of Byzantium.
Among the structures discovered this month in the Kadıköy district was a group of buildings that could have once been a small summer palace and warehouse. Alongside these finds were smaller ones, including coins and pottery dating from around 6 BCE.
When maintenance work and a renovation to accommodate high-speed trains started in 2018, experts came across ancient remains under the tracks. Since then, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Istanbul Archaeological Museums have conducted excavations at the ancient site. The archaeological team comprises some 430 people, including archaeologists and museum specialists, and covers an area of over one million square feet.
Countless artifacts and buildings from a range of periods, spanning the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras, have been found at the Haydarpaşa site. Archaeologists recovered 10,000 gold coins and the remains of a 5th century castle, as well as 28 sets of human remains, a functioning Byzantine-era fountain with water clean enough to be drinkable and the remains of a spectacular Byzantine palace. All of these discoveries mean that the port city may have already had an extensive trading system.