Archaeologist Martin Steskal becomes new head of the Ephesos Excavations

Steskal succeeds the recently deceased Sabine Ladstätter, who had headed the renowned Austrian excavation in western Turkey since 2010.

Martin Steskal, new head of the Ephesos Excavations (© OeAW/Daniel Hinterramskogler)

Change at the top of the Ephesos Excavations: Sabine Ladstätter from the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) stepped down as excavation director shortly before her death. Her successor will be Martin Steskal, who has been deputy director since 2015 and will continue the scientific cooperation with Türkiye. The Republic of Türkiye approved the appointment of Martin Steskal as the new director of Ephesos Excavations in May, 2024. The 2024 excavation campaign starts at the beginning of June.

Exploring and preserving cultural heritage for future generations

OeAW President Heinz Faßmann states: »Ephesos is one of Austria's largest scientific endeavours abroad. Thanks to the extremely successful cooperation between Turkish and Austrian colleagues, the World Heritage Site is one of the best documented archaeological excavations in the world. Sabine Ladstätter has done a great job as excavation director. In Martin Steskal, who has also been working in Ephesos for many years, an outstanding successor has been found to research and preserve Ephesos for future generations.«

Martin Steskal, who, like Ladstätter, also conducts research at the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, comments: »Ephesos, with its 9,000 years of history, offers archaeology an extraordinary opportunity to look at the development of a settlement area from a long-term perspective. Archaeology intersects with many scientific disciplines. In Ephesos, this potential can be utilised in an exemplary manner.«

Reconstructing the living conditions of the antique population

In 1895, the Austrian excavations first started in Ephesos, one of the most important major cities of the Roman Empire. Under the leadership of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, numerous international research projects are carried out on site every year, involving more than 200 scientists from more than 15 countries. The World Heritage Site is also a tourist attraction and is visited by more than 2 million visitors every year.

In the coming years, research will focus on issues relating to the circular economy, resource management, human-environment interaction, production and consumption. In addition to a better understanding of the settlement history, the reconstruction of the living conditions of the ancient population of Ephesos will play an important role.

Martin Steskal explains: »Investing in long-term research projects is essential so that we can explore complex scientific questions that sometimes require a lot of patience. I am fortunate to work with an excellent team of researchers with a wide range of expertise and experience.«



Martin Steskal studied Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Vienna and completed his habilitation at the Faculty of History and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna in 2012. Born in Upper Austria, he has been working at the Austrian Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2001, where he has lead the Department of Historical Archaeology since September 2023. His academic work focuses largely on Ephesos, but it has also taken him to numerous other countries in the Mediterranean. Martin Steskal has been a member of the excavation team for 25 years and deputy director of the excavation since 2015. He has written numerous publications on the ancient metropolis, particularly on the necropolis, ancient bathing culture and urban development.


Astrid Pircher
Science Communication
Austrian Archaeological Institute of the
Austrian Academy of Sciences
T: +43 1 51581-4060

Scientific Contact

Martin Steskal
Head of the Department of Historical Archaeology, Director of the Ephesos Excavations
Austrian Archaeological Institute of the
Austrian Academy of Sciences
T: 43 1 51581-4130