The team of archaeologists working in the ancient city of Soli Pompeiopolis in southern Turkey announced that the site will be converted to an archaeopark on Friday.

Remzi Yağcı, who is the leader at the site, said that converting the site into an archaeopark will draw attention to the region and poses an educational opportunity as well.

“Our aim is to establish the connection between the areas we’re excavating and turn this place into an archaeopark. Turning it into an archaeopark will boost interest in the ancient city. People will be able to see everything that can be found in an ancient city.”

The team recently completed their 23rd season of excavations at the site, and are seeking to expand their efforts in every way, adding more people to their dig team for next season so that they can landscape the area and conduct restoration work.

Soli Pompeiopolis was a major port during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC in ancient Greece. It is now located in present-day Turkey. The site is home to millennia-old columns. 

“[Visitors] will establish the connection between the monumental structures above and below the ground. When they enter the port, they’ll see that it’s one of the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean and that the sea comes all the way to the south of the colonnaded street. Considering the places we’ve excavated, we see that the history of Soli stretches back to the Neolithic period, as does that of the Yumuktepe Mound,” 

He is referencing the close by excavations of the ancient Yumuktepe site that dates back to 7,000 BC. Yağcı and his team had discovered the memorial tomb of the Greek poet and astronomer Aratus, who was born in 315 BC, earlier this summer.

One of the first people in the world to observe the moon scientifically, Aratus is so well known and respected by astronomers that when astronauts took the first step on the moon, the first crater they named was for Aratus.

According to the archaeologist, the discovery is of lasting importance to the history of the area and will be of great interest to travelers who will want to see the monument.

Speaking to interviewers from the Anadolu News Agency, Yağcı said “For the first time, a memorial tomb has been unearthed linked to the archaeology of the ancient city of Soli Pompeiopolis.”

“Aside from more familiar structures, such as the colonnaded streets, the ancient port, the theater, and the bathhouse, something very unique has been found. This find brings dynamism to the ancient city and can influence tourism in the region – for both those interested in cultural heritage and general visitors to the region.”

The unearthing of the ruins has been ongoing since July 20 of 2020, Yağcı said. Showing photographs of the unique discovery, he indicated the two rows of hexagonal structures and arches around the memorial tomb that had been unearthed by his workers.