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Claros Excavations

Claros Excavations, a series of excavations carried out on the holy site of Claros, located close to the village of Ahmetli in the Menderes district of Izmir province. Excavations in Claros, one of the most important centers of prophecy in ancient times, began in 2001. In 2016, the Vehbi Koç Foundation sponsored work to document, preserve and restore the finds uncovered during the work.

Founded by the Myceneans at the end of the 13th century BCE, Claros served as a center of prophecy until it was abandoned in the 4th century AD. The Temple of Apollo at Claros is the only Doric temple built in Ionia. Construction began on the temple at the beginning of the 3rd century BCE and was completed at the end of the 2nd century BCE; it is the only holy site bearing inscriptions even on the steps. Twenty-seven meters to the east of the temple lies the Hellenistic altar to Apollo. The altar bears two sacrificial tables; one is dedicated to Apollo and the other to Dionysus. The 100 hecatombs at Claros provided the first archaeological proof of this sacrificial ritual. The site also features monumental, cult statues of Apollo, Artemis and Leto. Due to all these distinctive features, Claros holds a special place in Anatolian and world archeology.

The holy site was discovered by the German archaeologist Carl Schuchhardt in 1886 and the first surveys of the site were carried out in 1904 by the Ottoman archaeologist Teodor Makridi Bey. Makridi Bey carried out the first cycle of excavations together with Pierre-Charles Picard in 1913. The second cycle of excavations, begun in 1950 by Louis Robert, continued until 1961; the third cycle of excavations were begun in 1988 by Juliette de La Genière. The final cycle of excavations, which began in July 2001, are being led by Dr. Nuran Şahin from Ege University.

Life-size casts made from most of the statues found at Claros were used for an archeopark which opened in September 2011. The archeopark exhibits scale models of the Temple of Apollo and the altar.

Abadan Unat, Nermin

Political scientist who received the Vehbi Koç Award for education in 2012.