Turkish officials bury ancient city of Allianoi under sand

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The ancient city of Allianoi, near Turkey’s Aegean coast, has been completely covered with sand in preparation for building a dam in the area, despite protests from activists and archaeologists.

Though officials say covering the Roman-era spa settlement with sand is the only way to protect the ruins while they are submerged under the waters of the new dam, experts disagree with that assessment.

“The method is obsolete and it will destroy, rather than protect, the ancient site,” İlker Ertuğrul, a member of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday.

The decision to bury Allianoi was made in August by a local natural and cultural assets preservation board in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Bergama district; it is still pending the outcome of a court challenge by the Allianoi Initiative Group, or AGG.

"Not only is this approach wrong, but it has also been applied in an unlawful way,” Ertuğrul said, adding that officials should have waited for the court’s decision before covering the site with sand....

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