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Byzantine graves unearthed in Istanbul

Archaeologists have uncovered Roman-Byzantine graves underneath Istanbul’s famous İstiklal Avenue, providing evidence of human activity in one of the city’s most important areas at a date earlier than previously thought.

Byzantine graves unearthed in Istanbul

The graves were unearthed during the restoration of the historic Casa Garibaldi building on the avenue when a worker discovered a 1,600- to 1800-year-old skull eight metres under the surface.

Archaeologists from the Istanbul Archaeology Museum subsequently arrived and conducted excavations in the area.

Byzantine graves unearthed in Istanbul

According to experts, excavations suggest the presence of a late Roman or early Byzantine necropolis that stretches along İstiklal Avenue.

Although the first skeleton was removed by archaeologists and taken to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, the remaining skeletons have not been removed.

Byzantine graves unearthed in Istanbul

The skeletons, which are thought to belong to the Orthodox Byzantine era, were then sanctified by an Orthodox priest from Greece’s Mont Athos, or Ayronos, as Zeynep Kızıltan, president of Istanbul Archaeology Museums, said the gravse were established between the fourth and sixth centuries A.D.

Kızıltan said they also found some artefacts that were used in daily life, indicating that the area was residential at the time.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [January 24, 2016]

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