May 17, 2013

Constructors invade major archaeological site in Istanbul with heavy machinery

Archaeologists working in one of the most important archaeological sites of Europe, Yenikapı (Istanbul, Turkey), an emergency dig that has been extended for years as it became obvious that it is a treasure of archaeological evidence spanning many ages, saw their work interrupted and damaged by an impromptu invasion of heavy machinery. The site is meant to be one of the major nodes in the ambitious Marmaray subway project but is under archaeological research since 2004. 

Archaeologists working at the site have released a written statement to attract public attention to the incident. “An excavation has been carried out in Yenikapı as part of the Marmaray Subway Project for eight years as ordered by the Fourth Regional Board of Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets. The importance of the contributions that this excavation has made to the cultural life of İstanbul is already well known by the public. This excavation has been defined by world authorities as one of the most important excavations made during the century. The ongoing excavation activities do not block the construction of the Marmaray project because the work is being conducting at a place that is planned to be a parking lot. This excavation is the site of the Port of Theodosius, which dates back to the fourth century. The site is also in a residential area dating back to the Neolithic Age. On May 11, 2013, bulldozers went onto the site and started to destroy these historically important remnants. This is a crime under the current Constitution's Article 63 concerning the conservation of historical, cultural and natural wealth, and this is against international agreements signed by Turkey,” they said.

Source: Today's Zaman.

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