Roman-Era Sarcophagus With Human Remains Uncovered in Istanbul

Roman-Era Sarcophagus With Human Remains Uncovered During the Demolition and Excavation of an Istanbul Apartment in the City’s Büyükçekmece District.

Jan 15, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Roman-Era Sarcophagus
Istanbul straddles Asia and Europe (Getty)


Roman-Era Sarcopghagus has been unearthed in Istanbul, Turkey. Everything happened during the excavation works of an apartment demolished. Overall, this excavation is a part of the urban transformation project in Istanbul. The conclusion: there were also bones belonging to the human body, besides the sarcophagus.


Roman-Era Sarcopghagus Found With the Human Remains Inside

Roman-Era Sarcophagus
A sarcophagus unearthed in Istanbul.


The early dwellers made the tomb carved out of stone. There were also markings that show this was from the Rome-invaded era of the country almost two millennia ago. Two archaeologists and an anthropologist from the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Directorate conducted an examination of the construction site.


As a result of the three-hour examination, the human bones found in the tomb were taken out. After the completion of the examinations, they lifted the sarcophagus with a crane and took it to the Istanbul Archaeological Museums Directorate. Since Istanbul’s foundation, the city developed under the dominance of several civilizations.


Also, Istanbul was a center of various cultures. Three of the most powerful empires in history, Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman, declared the city as their capital. As a result, numerous temples, buildings, churches, palaces and baths from several cultures found their place in the city.


Istanbul – the Capital of Many Empires

hagia sophia istanbul photograph
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople), photo by Dennis Jarvis, via Flickr

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


After the conquest of the city by Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, the city became the new capital of the empire. On the other hand, former citizens had freedom of religion and social rights. With the religious buildings of former residents, Turkish art left its marks on the city, and domes and minarets dominated the city skyline.


Overall, various eras and different regions on the planet have their own ways of burying their dearly departed ones. This was especially during a time when there were still wars or conflicts frequenting nations or tribes. The most famous ones are from Egypt. Their main focus was on the mummification process of their royalties and their subjects.


Roman-Era Sarcophagus
Mehmed ll, Entering the City of Constantinople


Istanbul’s recent discovery shows that stone tombs and sarcophagi were once a practice for the early days. It is reminiscent of the present-day mausoleum which commemorates the dead with their own homes.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.