Archaeologists to join Taksim excavations

Archaeologists to join Taksim excavations

Ömer Erbil - ISTANBUL/Radikal
Archaeologists to join Taksim excavations

The excavation works in the Taksim Square started last week. DHA photo

Ongoing excavations as part of the Taksim Square Pedestrians Project will be monitored by Istanbul Archaeological Museum officials due to the site’s status as a culturally protected area.

Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said they had no intention of impeding the excavations, but in the event of a historical discovery the archeologists were there to guarantee that the excavations would continue manually in order to prevent any damage.

According to Istanbul Archaeological Museum archives, the discovery of historical artifacts is highly probable under the Cumhuriyet Street area where the excavations have already begun. From 2000 to 2011, excavations in a nearby area revealed Genoan tombstones in a historical graveyard thought to extend towards the Talimhane area, now populated with many hotels. The construction of the adjacent Atatürk Cultural Center in Taksim Square, currently under restoration, also revealed sarcophagi from the 5th century.

The discovery of any historical find is expected to delay the project’s conclusion.

“The site is being excavated by means of machinery and only in the event of a historical find will our archaeologists demand a halt to ensure the safety of the archaeological finds. If there is no cultural wealth waiting to be revealed, the excavations will surely continue and finish as planned in advance,” Günay said.