1300-year-old baby footprints found in excavations at the ancient city of Assos in western Turkey


1300-year-old baby footprints found in excavations at the ancient city of Assos in western Turkey

The city, which was founded on the summit and slopes of a volcanic hill at the southern end of the region called “Troas” in ancient times, opposite the Greek island of Lesbos, has hosted many civilizations for centuries.

The excavations carried out for the first time by US archaeologists in the Assos Ancient City in the 1800s were resumed in 1981 after a long break. Excavations have been carried out in the region by Turkish scientists for 40 years.

Work continues on Eastern Roman structures

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Archeology Faculty Member and Assos Ancient City Excavation Delegation Head Prof. Dr. Nurettin Arslan said that they continue the excavations with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Turkish Historical Society and the main sponsorship of İÇDAŞ.

Arslan stated that they continued their work on the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) period structures, especially where the western gate was located, during periods when the weather conditions were suitable, and shared the following information:

“We continue our activities in the Byzantine period building layers, which are located in the uppermost layer of the gymnasium (training area for athletes). Apart from this, we plan to continue our activities in the form of arrangement, repair and restoration works in the ruins with the cooling of the weather. “Although this building was used as an educational institution in the Hellenistic era, we see that when it comes to the Byzantine period, some of it was converted into a church, while the other parts were converted into living spaces for people and they built houses.”

“The little boy stepped on the slightly dried bricks”

Arslan explained that the Americans carried out intensive work in Assos in the 1800s, and they determined that the majority of the remains in the region were destroyed in this process.

Arslan said that they came across a hearth in the ruins of a house in the ancient city, which they thought was built for baking bread, “There are decorations on the terracotta bricks used on the floor of the hearth. However, apart from these decorations, a toddler, estimated to be 1-1.5 years old, can take two steps.

“There are footprints left by him. Besides, there are the footprints of a dog or a cat,” he said.

prof. Dr. Arslan said that they interpreted this find as a toddler stepping on the slightly dried bricks while the bricks were being produced, and then being picked up and lifted.

“An important data for Assos excavations”

Providing information about the period of the building where the traces are found, Arslan said:

“The date of this building is the 7th century. So we see the footprints of a baby on a brick dating from 1300 years ago. If the child had walked in all of them, it would have caused marks or deterioration on the other bricks. Because the first footprint was too deep.

It was as if it was suddenly removed afterwards. “We see that the traces are more superficial and he did not continue. We can see from his steps that this is a toddler. Because the steps between 2 feet are 5 centimeters. We see that he walks with very small steps.”

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Arslan emphasized that this find is important data for the Assos excavations.


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