Poems on tombstones were uncovered at the ancient city ruins of Aizanoi, located in Çavdarhisar county of Kütahya. Translations show that poems tell stories of pain and tears Romans had to endure after deaths of their youth.
Excavations continue at Aizanoi, home to the best preserved Zeus Temple in Anatolia and included in UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2012, considered by archaeologists as “Second Ephesus”.
“Teaching assistant Zerrin Erdinç and I have been recording tombstones in and around Aizanoi to turn them into a catalog since 2016. We move most of them to the area where Zeus Temple is located so they can be better protected and exhibited. We have an inventory of 500 tombstones that we have located so far”, he added.
According to Türkan, the stones contain lots of information on various aspects of ancient era societies. “We can observe through these writings how relatives of the deceased grieved for them. There are especially many mentions of people who died young, children and infant deaths and even unborn babies. There are poems of their pain, the tears they shed.”
The tombs also include information about professions. There are tombstones of lawyers, notaries, teachers, road guards, a head physician and various doctors.
Türkan believes that now that professions and economic status of the city is somewhat established, reaching an estimate about the population of Aizanoi will be the next step of their research.