Examining and Publishing Ephesus Inscriptions

Written by Ali Demirkiran, Archaeologist, Ephesus Museum (Turkey, ITP 2023)

Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. When I returned to the museum where I was working in August after the ITP 2023, there was a lot of work waiting for me. In particular, another project that I started in May 2023 and took a break from for the ITP, which was the examination and publication of the inscriptions found in Ephesus. I have been carrying out this project together with Prof. Dr. Thomas Korsten and Dr. Vera Hoffman, epigraphers of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and their students Christoph and Benjamin whose excavations continue in the ancient city of Ephesus.

There are hundreds of inscriptions found in Ephesus, but we were after the ones that had never been published before. After identifying both databases and most published inscriptions, we worked on a total of 4 inscriptions, 2 inscriptions found in recent years and not published, and 2 inscriptions found years ago but not published.

It is a wonderful feeling to study the inscriptions, to translate them, to transfer the emotions, sorrows, experiences, and laws of thousands of years ago for today’s people and to bring the past to the present. Vera and Thomas, who are very good at their profession, were doing the reading of the inscriptions, and I and the other members of the team were providing them with logistical support and support in taking readings from the inscriptions, taking the artifacts to the warehouses and cleaning them.

After the necessary research and notes were taken in the library of the epigraphy department of the University of Vienna and other museums in Vienna, in September 2023 we continued the project in Ephesus. It was fun and tiring to search and select the inscriptions like a puzzle from the dusty and historical shelves of the warehouse, but it was a pleasure to find and complete them all and make them ready for publication.

2023 ITP fellow Ali Demirkiran stood with two colleagues inspecting inscriptions in Ephesus.

The ITP was very good experiment for me. We were big group and we did very good work together. In this project for inscriptions we were small team but we worked well together and enjoyed it too!

The findings from the project have been published in Philia, International Journal of Ancient Mediterranean Studies. Read it HERE.