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Carian Princess in Bodrum Museum
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The Carian Princess exhibit evokes the last days of the ancient greatness of Halicarnassus, the capital city of Caria and the site on which today's Bodrum stands. It is a reminder of the Hecatomnid dynasty that ruled Caria from ca. 392 B.C. until the city fell to the Macedonian armies of Alexander the Great, a disaster from which it never recovered. It is a tribute to the memory of Ada I, a ruler deposed by her own brother and reinstated by the conqueror whom she had adopted as her son.

carian princessThe beginnings of this exhibition go back to April 1989 when a construction crew digging the foundations for a new building came upon a buried ancient structure. Since the construction site was located near to a known necropolis (cemetary) of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, the excavations were being carried out under the supervision of archaeologists of the Bodrum Museum, and it is they who investigated the uncovered structure to discover a burial chamber with an intact sarcophagus containing the remains of a human female. In the space between the burial chamber and the sarcophagus was a funereal wine decanter (oinochoe) with black glazing. As the well-preserved interred skeleton was surrounded by gold jewellery and ornaments, it was immediately clear that the deceased was a woman of wealth, and preliminary dating placed the remains as belonging to the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman period. This caused great excitement in Bodrum since it suggested that the remains may belong to the last Hecatomnid ruler of ancient Caria, Ada I.

carian princessThis thrilling find and its possible historical importance triggered detailed research into the period and initiated proceedings very rarely resorted to by archeologists: forensic reconstruction of the head of the deceased using the skull as the foundation. This science, excelled in by the Department of Forensic Science of the University of Manchester Medical School, has been successfully applied in several criminal investigations of otherwise-unidentifiable victims. The painstaking reconstruction of the head was carried out by Dr. Richard Neave and his team in collaboration with Dr. John Prag of the Museum of Manchester University and the result, now on display in this Hall, shows a woman whose facial features would not look out of place in a group of women native to this area. Based on the investigation of the teeth, performed by Dr. D.K. Whittaker of the Department of Basic Dental Science, Dental School, University of Wales College of Medicine, the age of the deceased at death was estimated at 44 years, with a possible range of 38-50 years, the estimate confirmed by the Pathologist's Report of Dr. R.W. Stoddard.

carian princessThe scientific investigations have not proven - or disproven - conclusively whether the disinterred remains are truly those of the Carian queen, but there is no doubt that they belong to a person of consequence, a woman of the noble or ruling class, and it appears to be more than likely that she was indeed a Carian princess, and not impossible that she was Ada I of the Hecatomnid Dynasty. The rich and delicate gold jewellery and ornaments that grace her figure as she may have appeared greeting guests in her banqueting hall evoke a regal hostess about to entertain her equals some 2400 years ago. At the very least the tableau probably closely approximates how the deposed Ada appeared to Alexander of Macedon when he paid her a visit in Labranda, before his troops conquered Halicarnassus and reinstated her to rule over Caria.

carian princessThe exhibition of the Carian Princess was created and opened to the public in 1993 with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture, the Center of Administration of Circulating Capital Funds of the Ministry of Culture, the Directorate for Documentation of Monuments in Izmir, Dr. Richard Neave and his team from Manchester University, Dr. John Prag, Keeper of Archaeology of the Museum of Manchester University, Sun Med Holidays, Go Turkey, the Bodrum Lions Club and John and Alison Simpson.


Other Departments:  
Carian Pricess HalllineAmphoras Exhibition lineGlasswreck Hall
Commandant's TowerlineGalley SlaveslineGerman TowerlineSecret MuseumlineEnglish Tower
Uluburun Shipwreck ExhibitionlineTektas ShipwrecklineTurkish Bath line Dungeon

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