A crossword puzzle with top-to-bottom and left-to-right Greek words has been unearthed on the walls of a basilica at the Smyrna agora, located in İzmir’s İkiçeşmelik area, West Turkey.
“It looks like an acrostic. The same words are defined both top to bottom and left to right in five columns. The word ‘logos’ in the center is said to have been used by a Christian group to communicate with each other during times of oppression. We want to consider this as a puzzle because there are benches in front of these wall paintings. The lives of those who were working here are depicted in these paintings,” said the head of the Smyrna agora excavations, Akın Ersoy.
The ancient city, which dates back 2,000 to 2,500 years ago, is distinguished for writing on walls, Ersoy said.
Ersoy said they had found a rich collection of artifacts, including around 3,000 letters, shapes, leaves, dogs and sentences.
“This is the same with the graffiti in Pompeii. In this region, Greek was spoken by intellectuals. It is possible to see Greek characters on the walls,” he said.
He said they had found numerous ship figures, environmental fauna and paintings of gladiators on the walls of the coastal city as well as love poems.
Ersoy said it was difficult to draw any meaning from the puzzle. “There are meaningless names, too. Like some researchers say, it may be a reference to the Christian group.”