Roman-era graves bulldozed during house construction in SW Turkey

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The destruction of three Roman-era graves during the construction of a house in the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla’s Bodrum district has elicited reaction from archaeologists and historians.

Roman-era graves bulldozed during house construction in SW Turkey

A Bodrum local recently demolished his old house in the Yeniköy neighborhood on Karakaya Street to construct a new house. After the removal of debris, the foundation of the new house was laid on June 15.

During the construction work, three graves that date back 2,100 years ago were destroyed by caterpillars before being covered with walls and drainpipes.

Construction was subsequently stopped, after which officials of the Bodrum Underwater Museum opened an investigation.

“No safety measures were taken around the historic graves and they were destroyed,” said the museum’s retired deputy director, Aykut Özet. “Ancient graves that are thousands of years old should not be protected like this. Moreover, a wall has been put over the graves. The best thing seen in this situation is that the construction has been stopped.”

The head of the Bodrum City Council Cultural Heritage Group, historian and archaeologist Ayşe Temiz, also complained, saying, “The artifacts unearthed on the land, where construction projects worth millions of dollars are occurring, are not being protected well.”

The incident is the latest in a series of examples, Temiz said. “Maybe it is a solution to stop the construction but it is also important to take the artifacts under protection. I hope that more of these graves, which are close to the ancient gate of Myndos, can be found if archaeological excavations start there.”

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [June 25, 2016]

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