Kaunos ancient theater had rotating stage, say archaeologists

Posted by Chris Parker
Aug 01 2006

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News, Thursday, July 20, 2006

The ancient theater in Kaunos, located in MuÄŸla’s Dalyan district, had a rotating stage, archaeologists working on the site announced on Wednesday.

Professor Cengiz Işık, head of the excavations in Kaunos, said they have made numerous discoveries, which he says includes firsts in archaeology.

“Our latest discovery is that it incorporated a rotating stage system,” Işık told the Anatolia news agency.

“Kaunos does not have the usual ancient structures built out of colossal white marble columns, but has very special features that can be called firsts in archaeology. One of them is the theater.

The two-meter high rotating stage was triangular in shape with different decor on each side. As the setting changed throughout the play’s plot, a mechanism rotated the stage,” Işık explained.

“Ancient playwrights mentioned this system in historical documents but we did not have any archaeological evidence of this system until now,” he said.

Işık said the rotating stage system would be utilized in a concert to be held on Aug. 25 to mark the 125th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s birth.

BaÅŸkent University’s Academic Orchestra will perform the concert accompanied by photographs of Atatürk on the three sides of the stage.

Excavations in the ancient city have been continuing since 1966 and are expected to last for years.

Kaunos was a significant trading port in ancient times, however, over time sand and silt filled the harbor over time.

According to Heredotos, who lived around 500 B.C., the people of Kaunos were descendents of the ancient civilization of Caria and considered themselves Cretans.

When the Persians captured Anatolia, the city came under the control of Mausolos.

After Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 334 B.C. the city was ruled by Princess Ada, then by Antigonos, one of Alexander’s generals and later by Ptolemy of Egypt.

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