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x0x Tunnel digging reveals new chapter in Istanbul's history

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    [See more at: http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/15164 ] x0x Tunnel digging reveals new chapter in Istanbul s history By IANS Friday, November 14, 2008
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2008
      [See more at:
      http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/15164 ]

      x0x Tunnel digging reveals new chapter in Istanbul's history

      By IANS

      Friday, November 14, 2008

      Istanbul: The chance uncovering of 8,000-year-old
      human urns, ashes, clothes and utensils while
      digging for an undersea metro tunnel in Istanbul
      is a stunning find that throws new light on the
      historic past of the Turkish capital, say

      As a result, heavy machines have been stopped from
      digging into this part of the tunnel, being built
      under the Bosporus or Istanbul Strait to connect
      the Asian and European parts of this city.

      Once the seat of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman
      empires, Istanbul is said to be the third largest
      city of the world today with a population of more
      than 11 million.

      Ismail Karamut, director of Istanbul Archaeology
      Museum, told the local Hurriyet Daily News the
      urns and other artefacts uncovered during the
      digging were "extremely important".

      Besides the urns, the excavation has uncovered
      ashes wrapped in cloth, used clothes and other
      belongings of the dead. One urn contained the
      skeleton of a baby. Experts believe it was very
      likely that this area was a burial site, the
      newspaper said.

      Archeologists said the findings reveal that
      Istanbul had a thriving human settlement much
      before the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

      Terming them as sensational, associate professor
      Necmi Karul, branch chairperson for the
      Archeologists Community in Istanbul, said: "In
      Anatolian archaeology, there were no urn burials
      from the Neolithic Age. It is definitely a burial
      site because they are side by side. They date back
      to 5800-6000 BC, the last of the Neolithic Age".

      Karamut said permission for use of heavy machines
      for the digging of the tunnel would be given at a
      later date when the excavation work was over.

      Ever since work on this ambitious Turkish project
      started a few years ago, an archaeological
      treasure trove has been unearthed - like an intact
      1,000-year old wooden boat. But the latest finding
      has surpassed them all.

      The tunnel under Bosporus is being constructed to
      meet the heavy traffic need of this burgeoning
      metropolis, which has the rare distinction of
      being spread over two continents -- Asia and

      Right now, two bridges - the 1,074-metre-long
      Bosporus Bridge built in 1973 and the
      1,090-meter-long Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
      constructed in 1988 - connect the two parts of
      Istanbul separated by Bosporus.

      Plans are also afoot for a third bridge while the
      construction on this 13.7-km-long undersea metro
      tunnel is expected to be over by 2012. Being built
      at an estimated cost of more than $3.5 billion, it
      would be one of the world's deepest tube tunnels
      once completed, at 75 metres below sea level.
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