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In construction, one of the things many contractors make a concentrated effort at avoiding is destroying anything of historical value while building something new. In fact, many contractors are excited to unearth history, even if it does mean work can be delayed a few days. Browse through our “Jobsite Finds” posts and you get a pretty good idea at how integral construction projects are in assisting archaeologists in making new discoveries.
Unfortunately, other contractors are not so empathetic to the work of those that came before them.
Case in point, artifacts and the remains of ancient buildings are reportedly being destroyed by “a large number” of construction projects on a historical and protected peninsula in Istanbul. Citing a report from daily Turkish newspaper Radikal, Today’s Zaman reports ancient walls, columns and other unearthed artifacts are being destroyed, sometimes even in the presence of archaeologists as work proceeds.
Contractors must first obtain a permit from the “Protection Board” which oversees projects on the peninsula. The board requires projects to be carried out “scientifically,” meaning “construction machines can only be used to move earth from the top of a historical building.”
In response to the controversy, officials from the Istanbul Archaeology Museums said there simply aren’t enough experts to go around on the peninsula to oversee that work is done correctly. In addition, the officials said contractors would often send construction machines in to work a site “behind the backs of experts, for example, at times when they leave the site.”