Karkemish excavations reveal new artefacts despite unrest on Turkish-Syrian border

Despite ongoing war in Syria, archaeological works in the ancient city of Karkemish, Gaziantep province, on the Turkish-Syrian border continue. The archaeologists and Turkish authorities plan to open the site for public as an open-air museum in 2017.

Worker at Karkemish (by AP)
Worker at Karkemish (by AP)

Already a tourist gate and a ticket house have been erected at the ruins of the city, that was established in Hittite era. In the meantime archaeologists led by Nicolo Marchetti, University of Bologna, unearthed sculptures, mosaics and other artefacts at the site, despite sporadic gunfire and shelling heard from the Syrian site. Despite the proximity of conflict in neighbouring Syria the plans for opening the remains of the ancient city to the public are planned for May 2017.

Archaeological site at Karkemish (by AP)
Archaeological site at Karkemish (by AP)

The area of the city and it’s vicinity was for a long time controlled by the Turkish military. The remains of the city are on the Turkish side, but part of the outer town is on the Syrian side within the city of Jarabalus, was held by ISIS terrorist militia, until Turkish ground forces took it over after their incursion on August 24th, earlier this year. The archaeological features on the Syrian side of Karkemish are especially vulnerable because they are just below the ground surface.

Land mines extracted in 2010 from around Karkemish (by AP)
Land mines extracted in 2010 from around Karkemish, before the ISIS terrorist revolt (by AP)

To protect the site a 1.7 kilometre wall was erected at the border, stretching from from the train station of the modern town of Karkamis to a railway bridge built by Germans a century ago. Its role is to protect the tourists that would come to see the ancient ruins. The structure itself has been constructed with use of prefabricates which allow to deconstruct it if peace on the Syrian-Turkish border should return.

(after AP & Hurriyet Daily News)

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