Archaeological excavations in a monastery complex on Giresun Island, Turkey, yield information on Byzantine daily life. The excavations have been carried out since 2011, on the Black Sea island right across Giresun, known as Kerasoun in the past. The site used to be a significant religious centre in the Byzantine era and most of the findings date to the 13th century.
During the works archaeologists have unearthed a church, a tower and monastery, ruins of some other big structures and six tombs. The tombs bear features of Byzantine burial traditions.
According to Gazanfer Iltar, academic consultant for the excavations and a member of the History of Arts Department at the Celal Bayar University, several artefacts have been found in the field since the very beginning of this digging period. Among the most significant among them are pieces of frescoes in yellow, red and green, probably originating from the church. Also, some mosaic pieces have been found, an indication that perhaps a palace existed under the church.
Many tombs that were in the field were destroyed during illegal excavations, because they were very close to the surface. The first findings from anthropological examinations in the tombs, though, showed that the men buried there had died in their 30s. The tombs themselves were covered with roof tiles, as in Byzantine burial customs, with several scallops left inside and a coin placed on the toe in some of them.
In the past the island was surrounded with walls, but they all collapsed with time. Today only the ruins of the largest structures remain, as well as those of a chapel, cistern, and many pithoi.
Iltar stated that the ruins of the narthex of the church will be completely unearthed, a very significant part on revealing the lifestyle practised on the island.
Another significant finding is a green-glazed bowl, from the Zeuksippos family group. It probably dates to the first half of the 13th century, and it is the only sample of this group that has been found as east as this region and can be completed. An imitation of the bowl is currently being constructed.