One day in 1963, Mehmet, a farmer in the village of Sahinefendi, awoke to find that a section of his field had been disturbed -- he thought by treasure hunters, a not-uncommon phenomenon in these parts. Upon closer inspection, he spotted something clearly not part of the natural landscape and started clearing away dirt. What he uncovered was a panel of mosaics, a finding he knew to be significant. He reported his discovery to the provincial museum directorate, but was met with silence. Over the years, the buried treasure uncovered in the process of tending his fields included a 1.8m (6-ft.) terra-cotta pot and a 3m (9 3/4-ft.) high Doric column, all dutifully reported to (and ignored by) the provincial authorities. (He at one point shrugged his shoulders and used the Doric column as a support for the balcony of his home.) It was not until 2002, after decades of attempts to engage the authorities, that the local museum directorate finally stood up and took notice.
Today, a small patch of land on this farmer's property is roped off and reveals a 400-sq.-m (4,306-sq.-ft) Meeting Hall whose main draw is the vibrant mosaic flooring throughout. Towards the 6th century, a Chapel was constructed atop some of the finer mosaics within the Meeting Hall using materials scavenged from the Main Room. A grave was also uncovered, containing the skeletal remains of an adult shrouded male, dating to the same period as the Chapel addition. Further spot tests of the site revealed a Roman bath complex, now believed to be the site of Sobesos, a city dating to the late Roman and early Christian period (mid-4th century to 5th century A.D.). The finding of Roman ruins of this sophistication provides historical continuity never before seen in Cappadocia. We know that Christians were for the most part hiding from Roman soldiers, but we've never seen evidence of a full-scale Roman settlement. Sadly, the excavations are at pretty much a standstill because of a lack of funds. The site is still worth a visit, but you'll need permission from the farmer to see it, which means you'll need to get by the guard (he's very friendly, and Mehmet's cousin) hired by the Nevsehir Museum to watch his property.