Turkey 2016–Part Three– The Big Dig

Sometimes archaeology is just a matter of pure luck. Take for instance the case of the discovery of the wrecks of numerous ancient ships near Istanbul. It was all over the news. dig and rightly so. But the dig in progress was for the new tunnel under the Bosphorous providing another way to get from the European to the Asian side of Istanbul, not to mention a new subway station. digs17 dig2

What to do about this find? Well, they weren’t going to build a new museum in that spot since they were already building the new subway station and tunnel. So….. we now have an answer to the question, ‘When is a subway station (in this case Yenikapi Marmaris) not a subway station? Answer: When they turn it into a mini-archaeology museum, and it is impressive. First of all the design of the station incorporates images of the archaeological discoveries beneath the station….dig4dig5dig6 Then on top of that, set up display cases of replicas of the boats and what was found in them….

digs7dig8 Yes boats full of amphorae were found but also precious objects and jewels.

dig9digs10digs11digs12digs13digs14 And in case you are wondering how good the replicas are (obviously they are not leaving the originals in glass cases in an unprotected subway station), here is the original find of the coins….digs16

Archaeology is meticulous work, involving sifting various layers down into a site, as this graphic shows for the boat dig…..digs20

I could have spent hours in this amazing subway station which was beautifully pristine….digs21digs22 But alas, I had lots more sites to see before the day was done in Istanbul.

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