The Best Guide + Turkey

Near East: Hellenistic tombs to be buried under road
The construction of an asphalt road in Bodrum’s Gümüşlük district in Turkey's western province of Muğla caused negative reactions because the road will pass over three 2,200-year-old tombs from the Hellenistic period in the ancient Greek city of Myndos.

Hellenistic tombs to be buried under road
Three tombs from the Hellenistic period in the ancient Greek city of Myndos will be buried under the asphalt road with the permission of the General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage [Credit: DHA]

The tombs will be buried under the asphalt road, having received the permission of the General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The head of the excavations in the ancient city of Myndos, Professor Mustafa Şahin also gave a strong reaction, saying, “These kinds of tombs exist in this region. Excavations were set to continue here next year. It is impossible to understand such a decision.”

The three Hellenistic period tombs were discovered three years ago in the necropolis area of the ancient city of Myndos during excavations carried out for the Bodrum peninsula drinking water project.

In accordance with the code of the protection of cultural and natural properties, salvage excavations should have been carried out, but officials failed because of the fact that the area of the tombs were on the main road connecting the Turgutreis-Gümüşlük-Yalıkavak lines.

A new road was proposed

A new main road was proposed to the Gümüşlük Municipality for Turgutreis-Gümüşlük-Yalıkavak line. When the construction was finished this year, salvage excavations were carried out under the direction of the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum and with the consultation of Şahin. Ceramic cups, jewelry and skeletons were uncovered and put under protection.

The first road, which turned out to be illegal because of the ancient tombs, was also closed. But the municipality applied to the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum and the General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage although the new road was two-kilometer shorter than the first one and had lesser bends.

In the beginning of this month, the directorate gave permission to open the first road again. “It is appropriate to cover the tombs and pave it asphalt,” it said.

Gümüşlük Mayor Mehmet Tire confirmed the road would be opened to traffic, saying, “Excavations are finished here. Valuable pieces in the historic tombs were removed and delivered to the museum.
This road was a very active one. People are using this road to go to their homes and offices. We received the necessary permission to open to the road to traffic again, because it is lucrative for the public.”

Professor cannot believe the decision

Şahin, who has been heading excavations in the ancient Myndos for six years, said he could not believe the directorate’s decision. He said, “These tombs, which date back to 2,200 years ago are priceless.

Also, we know there are more tombs in this area. These excavations were set to continue next year. I have not received an official document about this decision.

When I get it, I will write my report on the protection of tombs and continue excavations because the road passes over ancient artifacts. I don’t want to believe that the directorate made such a decision,” Şahin said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [December 30, 2013]

Ancient, Archeology, Breakingnews, Cultural Legacy, Greater Middle East, Historical Heritage, More Stuff, Near East, and more:

Near East: Hellenistic tombs to be buried under road + Turkey