TURKEY: ARCHEOLIGISTS WORK TIRELESSLY TO SALVAGE HIDDEN TREASURES OF ZEUGMA BEFORE AREA IN GAZAINTEP IS FLOODED AS PART OF A MAJOR DAM PROJECTRecord ID: 496444
- Title: TURKEY: ARCHEOLIGISTS WORK TIRELESSLY TO SALVAGE HIDDEN TREASURES OF ZEUGMA BEFORE AREA IN GAZAINTEP IS FLOODED AS PART OF A MAJOR DAM PROJECT
- Date: 28th May 2000
- Summary: GAZIANTEP, TURKEY (MAY 28+29, 2000) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. WS OF EXCAVATION SITE 0.05 2. PAN DOWN: ARCHAEOLOGISTS EXCAVATING ARTEFACTS 0.14 3. VARIOUS OF EXCAVATION WORK (2 SHOTS) 0.25 4. VARIOUS OF FRESCOES BEING DETACHED (9 SHOTS) 1.18 5. SV'S GROUP WORKING (2 SHOTS) 1.32 6. SCU: ARCHAEOLOGISTS CLEANING MOSAICS 1.36 7. SV: (SOUNDBITE) (English) YUSUF YAVAS SAYING: "We were not looking for something special. But we have found so many beautiful things. For an archeologist, it is like a dream." 1.47 8. SV/SCU/PAN: DETAILS FROM VARIOUS MOSAICS (3 SHOTS) 2.04 9. SV: (SOUNDBITE) (English) YUSUF YAVAS SAYING: "Unfortunately we (only) have ten more days, ten days more we are losing this part of the city unfortunately. But I hope regular excavations would start at upper levels and I would like to see it I must say." 2.21 10. SV'CU'S: GREEK MYTHOLOGICAL FIGURES, SET ASIDE TO BE RESTORED LATER (4 SHOTS) 2.39 11. SV/SCU/CU: FRESCOES CLEANED (5 SHOTS) 3.03 12. SCU: (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) ARCHEOLOGIST AT THE GAZIANTEP MUSEUM, MEHMET ONAL: "As our ministers announced, an open-air museum is to be structured at upper levels. When excavations would end and an open-air museum opened, Zeugma, with its historical pieces of art, architecture and mosaics, will open up to the world tourism." 3.22 13. WIDE OF EXCAVATION SITE 3.26 14. VARIOUS OF SETTLEMENT UNDER WATER (2 SHOTS) 3.37 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Reuters ID: LVA8S9YUI549FYVP2BCHYYRV6647
- Location: GAZIANTEP, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Duration: 00:03:37
- Story Text: Turkish and foreign archeologists have been working
tirelessly to salvage artefacts from a 2,300-year-old
settlement in southeast Turkey before the area is flooded in
10 days as part of a major dam project.
The hidden treasures of Zeugma, the historical passage
between Anatolia and Mesopotamia dating back to 300 BC, are
doomed to be flooded by the waters of the Euphrates River in
Archaeologists work day and night to salvage what they can
before the opening of the Birecik dam, which is part of the
major south-eastern Anatolian project.
Invaluable mosaics, frescoes, columns, statues and numerous
art pieces from centuries-old civilisations will be covered
over by water of the dam, which will be used as a source of
hydro-electric power and agricultural use for the rapidly
The role of the 2,300 old settlement of Zeugma, which
means link in Greek, or bridge, was to protect the
communications between Mediterranean and India.
Zeugma became important as a military base, home for one
of only three legions on the eastern frontier, and as a
trading city on the Silk Route from China to the west.
As the Roman Empire was extended to include Mesopotamia in
the fourth century the city lost its importance as a frontier
post, but its wealth increased and many fine mosaics from the
third and fourth centuries have been uncovered.
Turkish archeologist Yusuf Yavas said the treasures at the
site are an archaeologist's dream come true.
"We were not looking for something special, but we have
found so many beautiful things," Yusuf said.
Now the biggest task for experts working on seven hectares
of land, from the total of 21, is to remove and transfer
findings to the Gaziantep museum.
It is estimated that only 10 percent of what exists has
now been uncovered.Excavations supervised by the Gaziantep
museum started in 1992, and were supported by French experts
of Nantes University in 1996 which lasted for three years.
One-and-a-half month long seasonal excavations were soon
transferred into full-time practices with experts working
seven days a week for the last eight months in an effort to
save the priceless artefacts.
Frescoes are removed by French CNRS (international Science
Research Centre) excavation group, and Mosaics by Art
Decoration group from Istanbul.
During the excavations led by three prominent Turkish
archeologists, 3,200 metal coins, more than 1,000 square
metres of intact mosaics, various frescoes and numerous
pottery pieces were surfaces.
The excavated pieces will be displayed in Gaziantep museum.
Archeologists will try to move findings above the expected
water level, and they hope to continue excavations in the
upper layers of settlement.
Turkish ministers have promised to promote the site as a
tourist stop and there are tentative plans for an open air
Mehmet Onal, archaeologist at the Gaziantep museum and head
of excavations, said that the museum would be open for
Zeugma history is incredibly varied.Greeks, Romans and
Byzantines have all made their homes there prior to the
establishment of the Ottoman Empire.
The restless cradle of ancient civilisations, Zeugma
witnessed at least one big battle, survived through a major
earthquake and a big fire, and now surrenders to dam waters
but even a short glimpse will tell its story behind safe
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