Traces of the Roman Emperor 'Theodosius the Great' in the church that has been excavated for 100 years

A wall dating to the period of the Roman Emperor, known as Theodosius the Great, was unearthed in the excavations that have been going on at Hagia Sophia and the contemporary church since 1921 at the Ayasuluk Hill and St. Jean Monument excavation area in Izmir.

Traces of the Roman Emperor 'Theodosius the Great' in the church that has been excavated for 100 years

While the Ayasuluk Hill and St. Jean Monument Excavations in the Selçuk district of İzmir continue with the support of Istanbul Gelisim University, it has been revealed that the church found in the excavation area dates back to the period of the Roman Emperor known as Theodosius the Great.

Saying that the excavations in St. John's Church were started by the Greek General Sotiriou in 1921, the excavation director and Hatay Mustafa Kemal University Faculty Member of Art History Department Sinan Mimaroğlu says, “St. John is one of the apostles of Jesus, and when Jesus was on the cross, he entrusted his mother and St. John, saying to St. Mary and St. John, ‘Here is your mother, here is your son.’ John later came to Ephesus and lived here until he was 100 years old and is buried in the field behind me. A baldachin-style building was built in this area in the early 3rd and 4th centuries. We know that later on, it expanded into a basilica planned church, and lastly in the 5th century, during the reign of Justinian, contemporary with Hagia Sophia. This excavation lasts 100 years. The first excavation was carried out by the Greek General Sotiriou during the years of occupation. Excavation is being carried out to reach the tomb of St. John directly. Today, it is still a structure whose research and examination has not been completed. This structure is a very important Orthodox structure in Western Anatolia.”


Expressing that they are working on the northern part of the church within the scope of the 2021 excavations, Assoc. Prof. Mimaroğlu says, “We knew that the church was a door made of the northern cross. Our excavations showed us that there is a monumental structure here. Starting from the Late Byzantine Period, we uncovered the wall dating back to the middle and Early Byzantine Period, perhaps the Theodosian period. The materials from here are under evaluation. There are dense materials from the Late Roman Period. It can be considered a first in this field since ceramic material belonging to the Late Roman Period was scarce here.”

Mimaroğlu explaines that it has been found out that 8 human skeletons unearthed around the church belong to the late and middle Byzantine period.

Edited date: 03.12.2021
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