Pauline Site Excavated, Church Discovered

“When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to molest them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycao’nia, and to the surrounding country; and there they preached the gospel.”

Acts 14:5-7

Digging is going on now at one of the few remaining known, unexcavated New Testament sites.

Derbe, located in the province of Karaman, Turkey, is mentioned in Acts 14-16 as a locus of St. Paul’s evangelization. There’s already an indication that the site could be important:

So far the excavations have unearthed ancient wall remains. “There are brick and stone walls. We found graves and skeletons inside the walls. Anthropologic works will reveal the ages and genders of these skeletons and how they died. Works show us that this place received a lot of damage, and most architectural materials were removed for use in other places. This place was seen as a kind of stone quarry. We found the remains of a church-like structure, and we believe that we will find new structures as excavations continue. Even these remains alone show us that a Christian society lived in this tumulus [mound of earth over an archaeological site],” Tekocak said.

He added that according to old researchers and travelers, the ancient city of Derbe was located in front of a lake or a river, and this definition was suitable for the tumulus.

We have two stones with writings on them. The writings talk about the ancient city of Derbe. This is why we are looking for Derbe here. This is a new excavation. We find ceramics from various eras. We can say that the findings date back to 8,000 years ago in this tumulus. Works will continue for three years, then we will evaluate the data and prepare new projects. But the initial findings show that this tumulus has something that could draw the attention of the whole world,” said Tekocak.


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