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A drought uncovers a 1600 year old port city in Turkey

Droughts are normally seen as bad things, but in this case, it’s turned out to be archaeological gold as it’s revealed the existence of a 1600 year old port city next to Lake Kucukcekmece in Turkey. 

As lack of rain caused the waters of Turkey’s Lake Kucukcekmece to slowly pull away from its shore, the ancient harbor town of Bathonea revealed itself. The ruins of buildings, roads, and a sea wall are thought to date back as far as the 2nd century BC, meaning it would have been a thriving community at a time when Byzantium — now Istanbul — was a sprawling metropolis.

The area has already produced a plethora of cultural and religious artifacts including coins, decorative bricks, and pottery that was popular during the time it is believe to have been populated. The lake itself is attached to the Sea of Marmara, making it a perfect place for a busy port. Using sonar, researchers have discovered what they believe to be the remains of several iron anchors from the Byzantine era, meaning the port was in use until at least the 4th century, and perhaps later.

Bathonea is so large that it has taken this long to sort out the huge amount of ancient evidence on hand, and there are still massive underground structures that remain untouched. The archeologists investigating the site have a seemingly endless amount of work on their hands, but with each passing year, the mystery behind the historic port city gets a little more clear.


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