of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Mausoleum dominated
the skyline of the city at least until the 12th century; by the early 15th century it lay
in ruins, most likely due to the earthquakes frequent in the area. The Knights of St. John
put the remaining stones to use as building material for the Bodrum castle. One can still
observe large slabs of greenish granite and the classical architectural fragments embedded
in the castle walls.
The site of the Mausoleum was discovered in 1857 by the English orientalist Sir Charles
Newton who was conducting an expedition on behalf of the British Museum (his other finds
on this campaign included Didyma and Cnidus). The building was gone, but Newton found
pieces of the Mausoleum frieze in the basement of the site as well as in villagers'
backyards and in the walls of their houses. With the help of Sir Stratford Canning, the
British ambassador at Istanbul, these were collected and transferred to the British
Museum. For many years afterward the Mausoleum site remained a vegetable patch and
cow-shed on private property.
For at least the last 20 years a Danish team of archaeologists and conservators, led by
Prof. Kristian Jeppesen of the Aarhus University in Denmark, has been excavating and
preserving the little remains of the site, consisting on the funerary underground chamber
and architectural remains, many of them were found in the vicinity and the castle.
The Mausoleum Museum was opened in 1988 thanks to the join auspices of the Turkish and
Danish governments, now under the management of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater
Archaeology. The exhibit includes a piece of the Mausoleum frieze that was found embedded
in the castle walls and so escaped the depredations of Newton.
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