Gravestone of Ancient Roman couple stirs interest in Malatya
A gravestone dating back almost 2,000 years, which a Roman-era man named Claudius Amiantus made for himself and the memory of his wife Iphigenia, is currently drawing great interest at the Archaeology Museum in the eastern province of Malatya.
Gravestones from other periods in the region are also on display in the museum's garden.
The 86-centimeter-high gravestone has the names and portraits of the Roman couple and it also features an engraving in Latin reading as follows: "When he was alive and in his right mind, Claudius Amiantus erected this for himself and for the memory of his respected wife Iphigenia."
The gravestone is 86 centimeters high, 31.5 centimeters wide and 13 centimeters in thickness.
Tulip motifs surround the portrait of the Roman couple, while their faces, eyes and hair are depicted in great detail.
Malatya Archaeology Museum director and archaeologist Fatma Kaya Ekici said the museum displays gravestones from the Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman eras.
"The earliest gravestone is from the Roman era, followed by Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman gravestones. The artifacts have been unearthed in excavations in Malatya or neighboring cities. Some were acquired through purchase. We have gravestones from the 1st century B.C. right up to the Ottoman era," Ekici said.
She added that the gravestone of the Roman couple, who lived in an area around today's Kahramanmaraş province, draws particular interest from visitors.
"This is a unique artifact in the museum but we have no certain information about the couple's position in their society," Ekici said.