Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Need for Coal "Forces" Excavation

Well, at least they're excavating in an attempt to save something, and not just blowing up the mound to get at the coal. From Today's Zaman May 24, 2008 Energy needs spark resumption of mound excavation in Kütahya The urgent need for coal buried beneath an ancient mound, in the Aegean city of Kütahya has forced the resumption of excavation at the site after 10 years In a statement to the Anatolia news agency, Professor A. Nejat Bilgen from the Dumlupınar University (DPÜ) archeology department said they had located a 15-million-ton coal reserve under the protected archeological site of the Seyitömer mound, which is 30 meters high and 200 meters wide. "Upon the demand and initiative of the Turkish Coal Enterprises [TKİ] in an effort to make use of this coal reserve, the Eskişehir Archeological Museum began excavation in 1989, subsequently taken over by the Afyonkarahisar Museum, which continued the project until 1995. Then there was a long interval of 10 years [with little or no excavation taking place]. After a protocol was signed between our university and Seyitömer Lignite Enterprises as a result of the TKİ's efforts, they resumed excavations in 2006. The market value of this huge reserve is YTL 500 million, and it can meet the energy needs of the Tunçbilek thermal power station [near Kütahya]. With the utilization of the reserve under the protected mound, about a total of 10 billion kilowatts of electricity will be produced." Bilgen noted that they planned to finish unearthing all the historical artifacts and cultural strata of the mound at the end of an intense five-year period of work, adding that all the artifacts discovered would be given to museums. Also emphasizing that they would determine to which cultural strata the archeological findings that formed the mound belonged, he said: "We are making drawings of the archeological structure in the mound for the benefit of the world of science and Anatolia. All our efforts are being exerted to that end. We have also established a new archeology department at the university. There is a team of 40 people consisting of experts, archeologists, lecturers and students working on site. Including the workers, we are a team of 100 people who work for six months out of the year. We are trying to contribute to the history of Kütahya in a fast and lasting way," he said. World’s oldest ceramic workshop Bilgen said archaeologists had so far discovered layers from five different cultures at the mound. According to their findings, the top stratum belonged to the Romans and included a temple and sacrificial altar. "The excavation has so far revealed that the mound is about 5,000 years old. We have found that the site was densely inhabited during the Bronze Age and during Phrygian and Roman times. We have also found ceramic moulds that suggest there was a ceramic workshop around 3,000 B.C. in addition to some other uniquely important artifacts. The ceramic moulds have proven to be one of the world's oldest ceramic workshops," he said. Bilgen went on to say that containers, pitchers, earthenware pots, ceramic moulds, lamps, seals and other artifacts they found during the excavations were already on display at the Kütahya Archeology Museum. "By the envisaged end of excavation, we will have found enough artifacts to fill three or four museums."

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