Treasure dig threatens Bosporus tunnel

May 2, 2006

A 4th century seaport has been discovered in Turkey at one end of a planned $2.6 billion tunnel under the Bosporus Straits.

The idea of linking Europe with Asia by an underwater tunnel was first proposed by Sultan Abdul Mecit 150 years ago, the BBC said. But that plan has struck a 21st century historical obstacle: an archaeological treasure trove.

Archaeologist Metin Gokcay says scientists, so far, have found such artifacts as nearly intact shoes, perfectly preserved ancient anchors and lengths of rope and even a long section of the city wall from the days of Constantine I -- the first time the wall has ever been uncovered.

But Gokcay says the most treasured find to date is an intact wooden boat that is more than 1,000 years old.

So now the archaeologists reject any talk of deadlines.

"They will have to wait until we finish," Gokcay told the BBC. "And I will continue my work here until the last artifact made by human hands is found. It's impossible to accept anything else."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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