Klazomenai (Urla)

The antique city of Klazomenai, one of the 12 Ionian cities, is on the island of Karantina, where the Urla bone hospital is located. The city covers an area starting from Limantepe across the Karantina island to the skirts of Ayyıldız and Cankurtaran hills in the west. The necropolis (cemetery) of the settlement built up during the classical period is located in the west of the chain formed by Ayyıldız Tepe and Cankurtaran hill; it’s in the region where the ancient road of Klazomenai-Hypkremnos-Erythrai passes. The harbor, reflecting the classical periods of the Klazomenai antique city as well as its prehistoric period, was divided into two by the İzmir-Çeşmealtı road in the İskele neighborhood in Urla district. Limantepe was first identified and introduced by Ekrem Akurgal in 1950, and in 1979 excavation was started by Güven Bakır. Since 1980, the excavations are continued by Hayat Erkanal.

The excavations carried till now date to the Archaic and Classical periods on the top layer and then there is the layer referring to the second half of the 2nd millennium BC, this period is also known as Late Bronze Age. In the Early Bronze Age layer dated to the 3rd millennium BC, it is possible to see the first urbanization process in the western Anatolian coastal region in Urla in terms of economic and spiritual aspects. The Chalcolithic Age remnants dated to M.Ö.40 were discovered in Limantepe. Limantepe, which reflects a history of at least 4000 years together with the classical ages, is the oldest and longest-established center of the Aegean coastal region.

With the excavations, a part of a palace was unearthed; this palace, which was defined as a house with a hallway in the Aegean world, was dated to Early Bronze Age and it was representing the political and economic authority. Dated to the same period, a city wall was also found, whose height at guarding side was reaching 6 meters. Round shaped single-storey houses (oval houses) dating back to the Middle Bronze Age were also uncovered; their furnace spaces could be seen and there were other small foundlings as well. The most important aspect of the city was its olive oil atelier dated to 6th century BC. It is still not known, when exactly the breeding process of the wild olive was started. With the excavations, earthen pots used in the separation process of olive oil are found together with hand mortars and grinding stones which were used to crush the olives. These were portable simple tools that met the need for household rather than large-scale oil production. However, the ones found in Klazomenai are for large scale production. There is a workshop with 15 pits and different functions, carved into the rock. The olive oil atelier which was excavated in Klazomenai proves that the technology used today in the world was first developed in this region 2600 years ago.During Phase 1 of Klazomenai, production was aimed at meeting the needs of the city and its immediate surroundings. During Phase 2, exports seem to have gained importance. The amphorae found by these excavations had their ornaments painted on a band-line in a style special to Klazomenai and they were used for the storage and transportation of olive oil and wine, a proof that the city's foreign trade was well-developed in the 6th century BC. Klazomenai, along with other Ionian cities, participated in the establishment of a commercial center called Naukratis in the Nile delta in Egypt and also together with Miletos it took part in the establishment of some Ionian colonies, which were spreading along the Black Sea coast.