We continue to believe that it is still not too late for Turkish political leaders to take necessary action to avoid such a cultural tragedy to take place. Allianoi need not be sacrificed
The most recent reports from Turkey about the Roman spa complex of Allianoi, sent by the local Allianoi Initiative led by the archaeologist professor Ahmet Yaras, says that now only the tops of excavated walls and columns poke through sand that workers employed by the Turkish State Waterworks are laying. This outstanding Roman archaeological site is being made ready to be submerged under water as work resumes on the controversial Yortanli dam. If the dam's construction goes ahead and the valley flooded to create a reservoir, ancient history will be lost by an irrigation scheme with an expected life-span of only 50 years.
Excavated by archaeologists only relatively recently, the ancient spa complex of Allianoi near Bergama in western Turkey has already revealed many historically rich monuments, including the thermal baths, bridges, streets and dwellings, and provided important scientific insights into Roman art, architecture, engineering, hydrology, medicine and pharmacology. Enlarged by the Emperor Hadrian, Allianoi dates mainly from the 2nd century AD, a time of emerging urban centers in Anatolia and of the construction of the famous Asklepion of nearby Pergamon.
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