Smiley faces have been a part of society long before emojis made them part of everyday communication. However, a new discovery in Turkey reveals that the smiley face may have been in use centuries before previously thought.

The discovery was made in Gaziantep at the border between Turkey and Syria. A team of Turkish and Italian archeologists were exploring in the area and had already unearthed a variety of ancient vases and pots during their expedition. But they highlighted a pitcher that was once used for a sweet drink called sherbet, with the pitcher dating back to 1,700 B.C. The pitcher had the faded but easily detectible outline of two eyes and a smile, familiar to modern-day man as a smiley face. Experts can only speculate about the reason for the smiley face, but they’re calling it the earliest-known smiley emoji.

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Turkey is the latest of many countries to set up a scientific research base in Antarctica. When setup is complete, Turkey will be the 30th country to have a base on the continent, which has attracted the attention of the scientific community in recent years. There are already 101 research institutes there.

Among the Turkish institutions interested in researching Antarctica is Istanbul Technical University. A government official added that several non-governmental organizations would like to conduct research in the area. So far, Turkish researchers have been working in the area under Bulgaria’s flag.

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