Two new inns and a rock shelter have been discovered on Mount Latmos (Beşparmak), located between the western provinces of Aydın and Muğla. The wall of the inns are decorated with paintings, dating back to eight thousand years ago, and the rock shelter is decorated with frescoes.
The first rock paintings were first discovered on Mount Latmos in 1994 by German archaeologist Dr. Anneliese Peschlow.
The Association of Ecosystem Protection and Nature Lovers (EKODOSD) president Bahattin Sürücü said the paintings in the inns had been given damage by people.
“In one of the inns, the wall paintings are in pretty good condition. They consist of non-human figures. In the other cave, the paintings have been destroyed because of climate conditions through time and fire burned by people in the cave. Locals have told us hunters and other visitors have burned fire in the caves in Mount Latmos, which has damaged the walls. The mount is not under conservation status except for its well-known archaeological sites,” said Sürücü, adding that those wall paintings should be taken under protection.
The EKODOSD president said the frescoes in one of the caves had also been damaged by insensible people.
“Another newly found painting was the Byzantine-era frescoes located under a rock shelter. Unfortunately, these paintings are full of damage caused by treasure hunters, as well as drawings made by people with ceramics,” he said.
Sürücü said the rock paintings and frescoes in Mount Latmos were not only under threat by treasure hunters but also mine pits.
“There is much undiscovered heritage in the mysterious geography of Mount Latmos, which is home to many Byzantine-era monasteries, churches and defense castles. It will take surface surveys that will continue for dozens of years to unearth this heritage in thousands of castle structures. But the virgin geography of Latmos, its unique geological structure and natural and cultural values are under threat because of new mine pits. While we can see the damage caused by current mine pits, new ones will put them under more danger. The Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board, Aydın and Milet Archaeology Museums and other relevant ministries should show the same sensibility,” he said.