Researchers say they have discovered 2,100-year-old statues during the first scientific archeological excavations at the ancient Kurul Castle in the port city of Ordu in Turkey's Black Sea region.
Carried out by a team of 25 archaeologists and 15 workers, the excavations are being supervised by Professor Süleyman Şenyurt of the Department of Archeology at Gazi University.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Şenyurt said the statues were found close to the surface, near what used to be a ritual area, and were made from baked earth.
According to Şenyurt, statues depicting the Greek gods Dionysus and Pan were found, along with several containers with goat figures on them.
"These containers are used in rituals," he said.
Adding that another statue of a child was found in the same area, Şenyurt said he was hopeful about future discoveries.
"To be honest, we expect to find more (relics) about Dionysus," he said.
Dionysus was an important Greek god of Anatolian origin who introduced tragedy, comedy and theater to the Greek culture, Şenyurt said.
The excavations, which began recently, are estimated to continue until October, with the castle expected to be opened to visitors in its entirety next year.
In the past years, researchers discovered a 110-centimeter-long, marble statue of Mother Goddess Cybele in the 2,300-year-old castle.
Kurul, which is believed to be Mithridates VI's castle, was a significant settlement, according to Professor Şenyurt.
Mithridatic kings came to the mid-Black Sea region after the Iron Age, and Mithridates VI the Great was the most successful Mithridatic king, extending his empire to the Aegean coast and the northern edge of the Black Sea.