Archeology Science

1,390-Year-Old Ancient Antidepressants Discovered In Istanbul

Group of researchers carrying out excavations at archeological site of ancient Greek city Bathonea located on the banks of Küçükçekmece Lake in Avcılar district, have found nearly 700 small ceramic or glass bottles containing traces of antidepressants and heart medications. This discovery could have significant implications for the history of Istanbul, as it provides the first solid evidence supporting the fact that Constantinople was attacked by a joint Avar-Sassanid force 1, 390 years ago, in 626.

ancient-antidepressants-discovered-2Küçükçekmece Lake in Avcılar district, photo:DailySabah

The leading expert of Bathonea excavations Associate Professor Dr. Şengül Aydıngün said that the latest excavation work has focused on laboratory, storage and analysis and has brought together hundreds of pieces of ceramics to form unguentaria. “It seems that there was a drug production center here. We also found lots of medical tools and spatulas,” she added.


She noted that 700 is a significant number for the ancient period, marking the first time that such an amount has been found in a single archaeological dig.


“Some of them are still being repaired, but meanwhile we have also found pestles of various sizes, mortars, and a stove, indicating that there was a pharmaceutical production center here” Aydıngün said, and added that there are specific plants on the site, which make up the essence of many medicines.

After detailed analysis Scientific and Technological Research Council reported that the residue contained Methanone and Phenanthrene, which are substances used for depression and have a soothing impact. Professor Aydıngün continued by saying that a large fire residue has been found in Bathonea excavation site, and it can almost be seen on all structures throughout.

“If this is clarified, Bathnoea excavations will add a new page in the history of Istanbul” Aydıngün said.

Bathonea excavation site has been home to the traces of oldest agricultural activities in Europe dating back to 7,000 BC, as well as Hittites dating back to 2,000 BC. The ports of Bathonea have also been used by the Vikings in the 9th and 11th centuries.


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