Officials trying to gain return of looted artifacts now on display in the U.S.
The Zeugma excavation site in the southern Turkish city of
The site has been looted already.
One of the most important mosaics, "the Gypsy Girl," has 12 of its fragments exhibited as decoration at
Meaning "crossing" or "gateway" in Ancient Greek, Zeugma was one of the gateways to
As a result of
At the site today, a visitor can see Roman villas side-by-side on a hillside across a breathtaking view of the Euphrates. Each villa has historically significance mosaics and frescos in their courtyards, guest rooms and reception areas.
The magazine has started a campaign that has brought attention back to the smuggling of artifacts in
"I am expecting everyone to participate in this campaign," said Kutalmis Gorkay, an archaology professor at Ankara University, and the head of the excavation team since 2005. "Our request is the return of those pieces to
Gorkay said that Zeugma, like other historical sites in
He said the Municipality of
Gorkay said that Zeugma excavation site needs to be an outdoor museum.
"The outdoor museum with the rooftop cover, completed in 2010, is a construction for the visitors to see the artifacts in their original context," he said.
"Once we constructed it, we made the site valuable for tourism and cultural heritage," he said. "There are so many historical sites in
Zeugma is still facing smuggling and looting of historical artifacts," he said. Authorities have developed different techniques, he said, to deter such theft.
The Zeugma site is so vulnerable to looting that Gorkay had also developed an interesting technique to prevent smuggling. "We cover the mosaics with steel plates that are two tons in weight, which can only be lifted by cranes," he said.
"The excavations this year will commence on Monday and last for three months," he said. "We will work on the Roman residence, which we call the Muses House, and also on the sacred temple at Belkis Hill, as well as on city center, which is a Hellenistic agora."
Related story: Cultural awareness key to preserving Turkish artifacts
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