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Karkamış artifacts revealed to media

Artifacts discovered during excavations at Gaziantep’s Karkamış ancient site were presented to the press. The pieces were found in a 663,000 square-meter area following the clearance of mines in a military area near the Syrian border

The presented discoveries from the Iron, Early Bronze and Middle Ages were all found in a 663,000 square-meter area of the Karkamış ancient city in Gaziantep [Credit: Hurriyet]
Discoveries from the southern province of Gaziantep’s Karkamış ancient site were shown to press members on Oct. 9, after excavation first began under tight security measures, as the site is located in a military area on the Syrian border.

The excavations - which started a year ago under tight security with the collaboration of the Turkish and Italian governments, and which are headed by Italian Bologna University member Associate Professor Nicola Marchetti and Istanbul University member Associate Professor Hasan Peker as deputy - have unearthed important findings regarding urban life in the city of Karkamış.

The presented discoveries from the Iron, Early Bronze and Middle Ages were all found in a 663,000 square-meter area. Marchetti told press members that the Karkamış ancient city covered an area of 90 hectares, 55 hectares of which lie within the Turkish border and 35 hectares of which lie within the Syrian border. There is currently no chance of excavating the area within the Syrian border.

“There are plans to open Karkamış as an Archaeopark in October 2014. This is a joint project of Turkey and Italy. The Karkamış excavations are important and the findings should only be displayed in their own places. In Turkey, such a display method currently only exists in Gallipoli ... I hope this place will open to tourism in 2014 as a result of our talks with the Turkish General Staff.”

A history of 3,000 years

Also speaking at the presentation, Gaziantep Mayor Asım Güzelbey said the peace treaty between Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II and the Hittite Hattusha was signed on this land over 3,000 years ago.
Italian Ambassador to Ankara Gianpaola Scarante said the Karkamış excavations represented a “gospel” of cultural cooperation between Turkey and Italy.

The clearing of land mines from the Karkamış ancient site, which was first discovered in the 1870s, began two years ago. Approximately 1,200 mines were found with the help of dogs and removed, and quality control in the area was carried out according to U.N. standards after the clearance. During the clearance, coins and historical artifacts were discovered and given to the museum directorate. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [October 11, 2012]

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