Ancient Teion possibly harks back to the first Greek settlement along the Black Sea

teion-first-black-sea-greek-city_1Credit: AA Photo

While archaeological excavations have done its fair share of tending to the historical legacy of ancient Greeks in modern-day Greece and western Anatolia, a significant number of urban settlements also cropped up along the oft-overlooked coastal regions of the Black Sea. A few months back, we talked about one such incredible city in the form of Amasra. And now, researchers are assessing the important ancient Greek city of Teion (or Teium in its Latinized form), often touted as the Ephesus of the Black Sea.


Credit: Norman Einsttein/Wikimedia Commons

Located in the northern Turkish coastal province of Zonguldak (or Sandràke in Greek), Teion is considered to be among the first Black Sea settlements (or possibly even the first itself) that was founded by Greek colonists, possibly from Miletus, in circa 6th century AD. Interestingly enough, the Filyos excavation (named so because of the Filyos district) was kick-started in 2007, and the project already revealed a wealth of archaeological remains from various cultures ranging Greeks, Romans to Ottomans; including fortified walls and an aqueduct. But most importantly, mirroring the cultural relevance of the ancient urban area, the project also unraveled a theater – only the second one in the region after the aforementioned Amasra. Şahin Yıldırım, the head of the excavations from Bartın University’s Archaeology Department said –

We found a Roman temple and an ancient theatre during the excavations. There is also another ancient theatre in the same region, in Amasra, but that one has a graveyard on top of it. The ancient theatre in Filyos had a capacity of 5,000 people. Currently, we have difficulties with the inefficiency of rail access in the area. But after we overcome these difficulties we will continue here with the studies and the restoration.

The other significant discovery in Teion pertains to what the archaeologists have stated as the most well-preserved ancient port in the Black Sea. Impressed by its still extant piers, the researchers have even conducted a few underwater archaeological analyses of the imposing ancient structure. Yıldırım said –

For two years we have been carrying out excavations under the water in the area. We first started with test diving and identified around eight submerged areas. We saw that these submerged remains dated from the Roman period onwards. So this ancient port was being used for a long time.

He further added –

We know that the Black Sea was a very important sea line and route and was became a very important trade colony in the Genoese, Ottoman, Roman and Hellenistic periods. We hope to bring these traces to the fore with the studies we will conduct in the excavated ships and ports. Some of the ships are already in quite a good condition. We have projects where we want to introduce these ships to today’s people by making their models and presenting them in the ancient port.

The good news for history enthusiasts is that the local authorities are planning to exhibit most of their recent findings from the Filyos excavation. And finally, the excavation head has also hinted at a grandiosely conceived landscaping restoration of the ancient Teion site –

We’re planning a landscaping project in the Acropolis area. We will cover the Byzantium fortress located on the ancient Acropolis completely with a roof. The Roman fortress in the area will be raised in accordance with the found data in the excavations. We will also build a point like a glass terrace around the fortress for people to walk around and visit. Everything will be completed in two or three years.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News