Ancient Troy may have been a sanctuary, new archeological finds show

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New excavation discoveries at the ancient city Troy in Turkey's western Çanakkale province suggest the site may have been used as a religious sanctuary at one time, according to archeologists.

Rüstem Aslan – president of the Troy Antique City Excavation Committee and archeology professor at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University – said excavations at the Eastern Rome cemetery have uncovered evidence suggesting the site may have been used as a sanctuary.

The remains in the cemetery, which was discovered last year, date back to the Hellenistic and late Bronze Age eras, Aslan said, adding that continued excavations this year will dig deeper to reach older Bronze Age artifacts.

Aslan said the excavation team is finding evidence that the area was used for religious practices, such as was discovered in the Western Sanctuary and Temple of Athena.

"Perhaps we will see in Troy if there is another sanctuary such as a new 'South Sanctuary' in the coming excavation season," he told Anadolu Agency.

Turkey's government declared 2018 the "Year of Troy" in honor the 20th anniversary of the ancient city's recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hundreds of thousands of guests, including celebrities, have visited the site this year to visit the newly opened Troy Museum and take part in cultural and historical activities.

The 4,000-year-old ancient city of Troy is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world. First excavations at the ancient city were undertaken in 1870 by German businessman Heinrich Schliemann, who is now regarded among the pioneers of archeology.

The historic setting of the Greek Trojan War in which Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece besieged the city in 13th century B.C. was immortalized by the Greek poet Homer in his epic poem Illiad.

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