Great effort is being devoted to excavating this almost 5000-year-old site, and to uncovering the history of the ages through its ruins.
The British engineer J. T. Wood directed the first archaeological investigations from 1869 onward, under the auspices of the British Museum, D. G. Hogarth continued the excavations, and Wood’s quest for the Temple of Artemis, from 1904 onward.
The excavations of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, which continue to this day, began in 1895 under Otto Benndorf. He received permission to excavate from the Ottoman Sultan, and brought up a good part of Ephesus in the course of his research. After the foundation of the Turkish Republic, the government transferred everything to state ownership. The Austrian excavations kept on except for the two war world wars, and have continued uninterupted since 1954.
Since 1954, excavations and restorations have been carried out not only by the Austrian Institute, but also by the archaeologists of the Ephesus Museum. In their intensive work since 1954, they have uncovered and restored important structures. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism accelerated this cooperative work in 1979 through its program “Selcuk-Ephesus Excavations, Restorations, and Systematization of its Environs.”
In recent years, new perspective informs the project. The main accent no longer lies so much on the excavation of further buildings and public spaces, but more on the care and pereservation of the buildings that have already been discovered. Accordingly, the project has restored important structures and monuments in the past fifteen years.
In the course of the excavations, which have now lasted over a century, only ten percent of the ancient city of Ephesus has been unearthed.
Excavations will go on for many years together with restoration works.