The ancient city of Sagalassos in southwestern Turkey has drawn increasing attention of the whole world after new findings in the archaeological excavations.
Archaeologists unearthed a sculpture of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and a of Empress Faustina Maior, wife of 16th century Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, were unearthed in the summer of 2008.
Meanwhile, the British Museum in London has begun exhibiting the bust of Roman Empire Hadrian which was brought to light during the excavations last year, as the centerpiece of the exhibition "Hadrian: Empire and the Conflict".
The team headed by Professor Marc Wealkens from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, finalized this year's eight-week excavations in the ancient city near Aglasun town of the southwestern province of Burdur.
Sagalassos was known as the 'first city of Pisidia' during the Roman Imperial times. The urban site was laid out on various terraces at an altitude between 1400 and 1600 m. Inhabitants were forced to abandon their city after a devastating earthquake around the middle of the seventh century.
Remains of the ancient city was first discovered by a French traveler in 1706. Since it was located on a relatively high altitude, it was left untouched during all those years.
Large-scale excavations started in 1990 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Marc Waelkens of the Belgian Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. A large number of buildings, monuments and other archaeological remains have been exposed, documenting the monumental aspect of the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine history of this town.
Last year, the team led by Professor Waelkens uncovered fragments of a colossal marble statue of the Emperor Hadrian in the rubble in Sagalassos.
The statue, which stood about 4.5m tall, dates to the early part of Hadrian's reign. The elaborate decoration on the sandal suggest he was depicted in military garb. It is considered one of the "most beautiful depictions" of the emperor ever found. Excavators unearthed the head, foot and part of a leg.
Ruling Rome from 117 to 138 AD, Hadrian was known as a great military administrator and was one of the so-called "five good emperors". His achievements include the massive wall built across the width of northern Britain which bears his name.
Born in 76 into a well-to-do family in Italica, near modern Seville, Spain, Hadrian presided over a period of relative peace and prosperity in the Roman Empire. He erected permanent fortifications along the empire's borders in order to consolidate Roman power.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Ağustos 2008, 12:43
The northernmost extent of this frontier is still standing: Hadrian's Wall runs across the width of northern Britain, from Wallsend to the Solway Firth. It was built to repel attacks by Caledonian tribes.
The inhabitants of Sagalassos had special affection for Hadrian since he officially recognized it as the "first city" of the Roman province of Pisidia and made it the centre for an official cult in the region which worshipped the emperor.
A sanctuary, or temple, to Hadrian was built in the southern part of Sagalassos.