The ancient city of Kelenderis, situated in the southern province of Mersin in Turkey, has revealed remarkable artifacts during ongoing excavations and restoration efforts since 1987.
This year, significant discoveries have been made under the coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Batman University.
One of the notable finds is a 2300-year-old statue of the three-headed goddess Hecate, along with ceramics dating back to the Hellenistic period. The excavation team, led by Associate Professor Mahmut Aydın, uncovered Roman-period floors and a substantial amount of Hellenistic ceramics.
The statue portrays the goddess Hecate merged with three identical figures facing different directions. Such statues were typically placed at crossroads, with inscribed directions on pedestals. Additionally, the Hecate statues served as boundary markers. The discovery of this unique Hecate figurine, measuring about 20 centimetres, was found in the layer where ceramics were discovered behind the Odeon.
The connection between the goddess Hecate and Kelenderis is evident through the presence of a Hecate temple in the ancient city of Lagina in Muğla. An inscription there indicates that Kelenderis was among the cities participating in competitions held every five years in honour of Hecate. Furthermore, Kelenderis pledged respect for the sacred area of Hecate, not attacking it. Therefore, the significance of discovering the Hecate figurine at this excavation site is profound. The artifact is estimated to be from the Hellenistic period, around 2300-2400 years old.
Hecate was revered in ancient Greece as a goddess associated with the underworld, possessing both beneficial and malevolent abilities. She was linked to magic, witchcraft, the moon, and nocturnal creatures like ghosts. Her visage was often depicted on doorways.
After examination, the Hecate figurine will be entrusted to the Silifke Museum to be displayed among other remarkable historical artifacts.
Aydıncık is the site of the ancient Greek Kelenderis(Greek: Κελένδερις).
Kelenderis, the site of these remarkable discoveries, was originally an ancient Greek city. Its historical significance as a Greek settlement adds further depth to understanding the artifacts found there. As an ancient Greek city, Kelenderis would have been a cultural and commercial activity hub, playing a crucial role in the region's history. The presence of the Hecate figurine and Hellenistic ceramics underscores the influence of Greek civilization in the area and offers valuable insights into the ancient city's past.