Treasure hunters have plundered two historic Byzantine sites in Istanbul, apparently due to the lack of preventative measures to protect them.
Two historic sites, the caves of İnceğiz and the İnceğiz necropolis of Maltepe, which were declared first-degree archeological sites in 1994 by the Istanbul Board of Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets, have since been plundered by treasure hunters. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has so far been ineffective in protecting the sites from grave robbers.
As Today’s Zaman reported citing the Akşam daily, the Çatalca Culture and Tourism Association is in possession of photos showing holes in the ground around the İnceğiz necropolis as a result of illegal excavations, as well as photographs of treasure hunters caught red-handed, excavating grave sites.
In the official archaeological excavations, which started in 1992 and ended in 1995, 40 tombs were opened. About 500 earthenware pots, figurines of Aphrodite and many other artifacts such as plates, pots, historic coins and some glass pieces were found in the state excavations. These artifacts are on display at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.