Shattered Tombs are All That Remain of a Long-Lost Civilization
The island was settled quite extensively in ancient times. There are the remains of several substantial settlements scattered across the island. The narrow isthmus which joins the island to the mainland was fortified by a strong defensive wall.
Tombs are found in the styles of all the major civilizations - Lycian, Archaic & Classical Greek, as well as Imperial Roman - which passed through this region. Above we see a typical Lycian tomb on a high bluff overlooking the one of the main anchorages of the island.
Our group was accompanied by Professor Dr. Mustafa Adak, from the Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures of the Mediterranean (Akdeniz) University at Antalya. Without his extensive knowledge of the site and insight into the many inscriptions scattered around, we would have had very little understanding of these ancient stones.
For example, the tomb complex shown above is built in the Archaic Greek style, which would suggest a date well before 500BC.
However, it is apparent from the extensive inscriptions found at the site that the structure was in fact built much later than the archaic style would suggest. It is assumed that the prosperous Greek family who erected the necropolis were strong traditionalists, and were possibly trying to show their long association with the founding families of the island.
The inscription on the fallen pillar shown above is one of four plinths which at one time supported life-sized status of the deceased, now sadly long gone.
Perhaps most interesting of all - the next generation of the same family is buried in a tomb complex nearby built in the Classical Greco-Roman style, possibly as late as the first century AD. So the change in the building styles jumped over 500 years in one generation.
One of the many local inhabitants out for an afternoon stroll . . ..
Both ladies and lizards seem to find the warm stone of the tombs an ideal spot to take a short break from their exertions!