Police seize Byzantine artifacts in Istanbul illegal excavation operation

Published 23.02.2017 00:00
Updated 23.02.2017 17:30
emFile Photo/em
File Photo

Anti-smuggling teams from the Istanbul Police Department have detained a man over illegal excavation in the city's historical Sultanahmet neighborhood, while also confiscating artifacts from the Byzantine era.

Upon receiving information of an ongoing illegal excavation under the historical walls in Sultanahmet, police units launched an operation on Wednesday, during which suspect H.Ö. was detained.

Police found a total of 23 clay cubes and ceramic pieces, two coins dating back to the Byzantine era and one belt buckle during body searches of the suspect, while numerous relics from the Byzantine era and the pre-Byzantine period were still located under soil on the excavation site.

The confiscated historical artifacts were sent to the Istanbul Archeology Museum Directorate for further examination.

Suspect H.Ö. was brought to the anti-smuggling branch unit for questioning.

Each year hundreds of people, who want to take advantage of Turkey's rich historical remains, are detained over illegal excavation crimes.

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