It looks as if time has run out in the decade-long fight to save the ancient Roman spa town of Allianoi in Turkey from being submerged under 12 to 15 metres of water. Reports have emerged that state workers have filled the second-century AD site with sand in preparation for the release of water from the newly constructed Yortanli dam despite court injunctions halting plans to flood the region.
According to Ahmet Yaras, an archaeologist who led the excavation at Allianoi and a prominent figure in the struggle to preserve the site, workers employed by the State Waterworks Directory (DSI) have removed “the plastic cover placed on the Roman baths to protect the structure against damage from the elements” and have filled the ruins with sand. This move has drawn ire from cultural heritage organisations such as Europa Nostra, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) and the European Association of Archaeologists which have vigorously campaigned for Allianoi’s preservation. Europa Nostra’s executive president Denis de Kergorlay has appealed to the Turkish prime minister “to find an alternative solution to save Allianoi and to stop the current destruction of the site”.
The Art Newspaper