11 November 2006

An old tomb of some sort


This ancient structure, surrounded by a nice little park, is located near the western end of the city of Milas (ancient Mylasa) in southwestern Turkey. I photographed it last July when I walked past it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to examine it more closely.

It is known by its Turkish name Gümüşkesen (ş=sh), which means "silver cutter". How it acquired that name, I have no idea.


Although apparently there isn't much known about it, it is considered a significant monument, because it is believed to have been modeled after the Mausoleum that once stood in Halicarnassus1, 2. Jeppesen2 calls it a Roman tomb and according to Akurgal1 it is probably from the 2nd century A.D. Bean3 gives some structural information and indicates that the door in the front provided access to the grave-chamber.

It is not known who was buried in it.

1. Akurgal, E. 1973. Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey.
2. Jeppesen, K. undated. The Maussolleion at Ancient Halicarnassus. [Booklet purchased at the Mausoleum in Bodrum, August 2002.]
3. Bean, G. 1971. Turkey Beyond the Maeander.


Duane said...

Is a "silver cutter" a cutter made of silver or a person who "cuts" silver? Perhaps a silversmith?


"Gümüskesen" is either a thing or a person that cuts silver. No, it doesn't mean a cutter made of silver.

I suspect the name is a distortion of an old non-Turkish word. The original may have been Greek, Hebrew or even medieval Spanish (there was once a Jewish community in Milas whose ancestors had migrated from Spain).

Anonymous said...

Nice job in photography! The kid in the picture helps to judge the size of the structure.

The second picture is very informative: it shows the offset squares that make up the ceiling and form a "dome", and how ornate these are in the interior.

Wonder what the architect thought when he left the corners of the ceiling uncovered. Was it decoration? Or did this structure have other items located at the corners that have either decayed (wood?) or were hauled off over the millenia?

Judging from the size and apparent (hilltop) location of the tomb, this must have been a somewhat significant / wealthy person.

clare said...

It seems incredibly well-preserved to me. In the UK monuments this age (or even younger) seem to be decayed at least - and sometimes buried under a foot or so of mud. I think it must be our cold wet climate.