Today’s Zaman, reports that the archaeological excavation at Ephesus may continue “for centuries.” The article says that work began at Ephesus 138 years ago. This reference seems to be to 1869 when the English architect J. T. Wood found the marble floor of the temple of Diana. Some research had been done as early as 1845.
Most of the archaeological work at Ephesus has been done by Austrians. They began the work in 1895 and have continued until the present time.
The article reports an interview with Dr. Fritz Krinziner, director of the dig and head of the Austrian Archaeology Institute. I note that Dr. Krinziner wrote Preface 2 in Ephesus: 100 Years of Austrian Research, published in 1996. Here are a few interesting comments from the article.
” He [Krinziner] stressed that it would be impossible to uncover the entire ancient city at once, underlining that only 10-15 percent of the site has been unearthed so far.”
“The excavation work may last for centuries. This is not an easy job. We focus on spots where we are likely to find something important as we cannot carry out the entire excavation at once.”
The article says that 1.5 million people visited Ephesus last year. An added note says that the Greater Izmir Municipality has announced plans “to establish an electric railway connection, similar to a tram, in Ephesus.”
The complete article may still be available here.
I speak to some people who seem to think that most of the archaeological work in various biblical cities has already been done. The work is complete! Think again.
Ephesus is visited by many tourists who have no interest in the Bible. They arrive on the cruise ships that dock at nearby Kusadasi. Others find the ruins interesting because the city was the site of Paul’s work (Acts 19). I think the tradition that the apostle John was here prior to being exiled to Patmos is a reliable one. The first letter within the book of Revelation is addressed to the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2).
This photo shows the Library of Celsus and some costumed actors from one of the cruise ships putting on a show for the passengers.
The Library was built in A.D. 135, after the time of Paul and John. The first time I saw this area, in 1968, only the steps were visible. The Austrian excavators did a marvelous job of reconstruction between 1970 and 1978. It is estimated that the Library could hold between 9,500 and 12,000 rolls. The arch to the right leads to the ancient agora.
We visit Ephesus on our Steps of Paul and John tour.