20.01.2017 19:05

Sarcophagus of a headmaster unearthed in Manisa

A unique sarcophagus, discovered in in Aigai Ancient City excavation, in Manisa, turned out to belong to a headmaster of an ancient school.
Aigai Ancient City excavation supervisor and Celal Bayar University (CBU) Faculty of Science and Letters Department of Archaeology Assistant Professor Yusuf Sezgin said, the grave was 2.2 thousand years old and the only example of a sarcophagus that belongs to a headmaster in the history of archaeological excavations.

Aigai Ancient City, is one of 12 cities established by Aiol civilisation 2800 years ago, excavation has unearthed a new sarcophagus pieces. Said pieces were combined with the pieces found since 2004. 80 percent completed sarcophagus was turned out to be a Gymnasiarkhos’, headmaster’s. The 2200 years old sarcophagus has writings on it, that are bringing light to the history of the ancient city.

Aigai Ancient City excavation supervisor Assistant Professor Yusuf Sezgin said, the sarcophagus will be exhibited after the completion of the missing pieces. Assistant Professor Sezgin added that this is the only example of a school principal’s sarcophagus in the history of archaeological excavations.

Assistant Professor Sezgin said, “There are three crowns on the sarcophagus and they all mean different things. The crowns show that the person in the sarcophagus was honoured thrice. One of the crowns say ‘Neoi’, meaning that the person was honoured by the youth, another one say ‘Aiollida’, meaning that the person was honoured by public. The third crown was chipped and could not be read. We have found parchment papers, papyrus scrolls and lettering sets on the sarcophagus, indicating that the person was a teacher or instructor. There are schools called Neoi Gymnasion in the ancient times. As far as we have discovered the person in the sarcophagus was the headmaster of the school, a gymnasiarkhos.”

Assistant Professor Sezgin said, the sarcophagus was also examined in terms of linguistics. Sezgin continued, “The sarcophagus was shattered and was all over the place when we started the excavation in 2004. We have found some of the pieces and continue the search for the rest. The writings on the sarcophagus indicates that the person inside was a headmaster. We are conducting a international work since 2015. We are cooperating with German Archaeology Institute and a group of archaeologists from Paris. We are evaluating all of the cultural assests as a part of the project. Our aim is to unearth all the missing pieces, combine them and exhibit the sarcophagus.”


Ersan Erdoğan / Manisa DHA