Underwater Roman city offers historical journey
İZMİR - Anadolu Agency
Roman city discovered during the Limantepe underwater excavations in the western province of İzmir’s Urla district will be excavated next year and offer an interesting experience for underwater aficionados. An archeopark will be established in the sea and visitors will be able to visit the underwater city by diving or with the help of a snorkel and mask.
Speaking about the excavations at Limantepe, which is considered one of the world’s top 10 underwater excavations, the head of the excavations, Prof. Hayat Erkanal, said that a settlement had existed in Limantepe between 7,000 B.C. and the Roman era. He said the city was one of rare centers in the region where a settlement existed for nearly 6,500 years, and they were able to find artifacts from various periods during the excavations at the site.
Discovered in photos Underwater excavations at Limantepe, which was discovered when weird shapes were noticed in photos taken from the air for a road construction project, have been ongoing since 2000.
Erkanal said the region was the first underwater center in Turkey, and that the excavation was carried out in spots that were flooded 2,500 years ago between Karantina Island and Urla Harbor.
He said they had so far been able to remove lots of artifacts from around the harbor and this year they revealed the ruins of a Roman city.
“We found out that this Roman city with two harbors is larger than we expected. This was very surprising for us. We will start excavations next year. We have determined lots of finds; I believe we will remove many of them. We want to open some underwater centers to tourism. Public opinion is interested in underwater excavations but there had been no infrastructure to open these excavations to visitors so far. We want to start it within a system. Italy and Greece have examples of it. People visit the underwater city with a guide just like visiting a museum but with a snorkel or mask. It [the water] is not more than 10 meters [deep] here. The ruins of the city can already be seen without excavations,” said Erkanal.
Within the scope of the excavations, Erkanal said they would focus on removing wreckages in the next seasons. He said, “No Ottoman wreckage has been removed so far. We discovered a 17th-century Ottoman boat off the coast of Urla and we will remove it. This wreckage is not too far from the coast. Its wooden form is still in shape. We want to remove it and [put it on] display. It is a pretty hard project; it will take five-six years to finish. It will be followed by [the removal of] wreckages from different periods.”