ISTANBUL / Radikal
The Ispartakule area has been launched as an archaeological site. Radikal photo, İdris EMEN
A rich history lies within the Ispartakule area of Istanbul’s Avcılar neighborhood, which has been riddled with treasure hunters for many years and is currently being eyed by Turkey’s Mass Housing Administration (TOKİ) as a desired location to build residences, according to daily Radikal.
Excavations carried out by archaeologists from the Istanbul Archaeology Museum have unearthed graves and objects from the 5th and 6th centuries. The museum defines the area as the ancient city of Spradon while TOKİ’s own experts have prepared a report claiming there is no ancient city in the area.
TOKİ prepared its report in order to facilitate the exclusion of the Ispartakule area from archaeological site status. “It is known that there is an ancient city named Spradon [mentioned] in ancient documents but it has not become definite yet that remains unearthed in the area were from Spradon. It is also not known yet whether the Spradon settlement was a city or not. The traces [found in the Ispartakule] are most likely from a farm,” TOKİ’s report said.
Daily Radikal published an article on April 15 under the headline “Treasure hunters realized, TOKİ did not,” which reported that the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning was increasing pressure to build residences on the ancient city of Spradon.
After daily Radikal’s article, drilling works started by the Istanbul Archaeology Museum’s archaeologists unearthed remains, including 58 graves that proved the museum had been right. Among the items unearthed during three-months of excavations were remains from the Roman and Hellenistic periods.
Now the Istanbul Cultural and National Heritage Preservation Board has made an interim decision that rules measures should urgently be taken for the preservation of the area’s remains.
With this recent turn of events it appears TOKİ’s dream to build residences on the ancient city of Spradon will not come true. However, TOKİ and archaeologists still await the board’s final decision is on the matter.