Archaeologists have unearthed an 8,200-year-old water channel in the Yeşilova Mound in the Bornova district of Izmir, Turkey. This excavation is a joint project between the Culture and Tourism Ministry of Turkey, Ege University, and local authorities.
Yeşilova Mound, the oldest known prehistoric human settlement in the İzmir area, has yielded significant traces of the Neolithic Age. Unlike other settlements like Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia, where houses were closely situated, residents of Yeşilova Mound lived in separate houses with distinct roof systems.
Associate Professor Zafer Derin, who has been leading the excavation since 2005, described the fascinating discovery: “Here at Yeşilova Mound, the site of Izmir’s inaugural village settlement, our current focus is deciphering the nuances of their urban planning.
The excavation brought to light a canal, spanning 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in width, traversing through the heart of the settlement. With stone-lined edges and an elevated earthen embankment, this architectural marvel persisted over eight millennia—spanning four generations.”
This ancient water channel, measuring 220 meters in length, was a central feature of the settlement. Ingeniously, it was used by the early city dwellers to redirect the watercourse, ensuring a consistent water supply to their immediate vicinity.
Derin emphasized the significance of their urban planning prowess, highlighting that the settlers harnessed water accessibility to shape their environment, showcasing exceptional adaptability.
The channel was built to withstand flooding, ensuring the settlement remained unaffected by such natural events. Despite the channel silting over time, evidence of Roman-era efforts to redirect water through the same area using conduits underscores its historical significance.
Ongoing excavation efforts, supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Bornova District Municipality, and Ege University, continue to uncover new facts about the ancient civilizations that thrived in the region.
Previous excavations revealed the dietary habits of the early inhabitants, with evidence of seafood consumption, including mussels, toxic lionfish, sea urchins, oysters, and clams, similar to modern preferences.