Police have detained 10 suspects who were carrying out illegal excavations to smuggle ancient artifacts in Turkey's midwestern Bilecik and southern Mersin provinces, reports said Monday.
According to reports, police in Mersin's Tarsus district discovered an illegal excavation in the backyard of a house, which had previously been cordoned off by authorities after the discovery of another illegal excavation.
They detained eight suspects involved in the illegal excavation, Ihlas News Agency reported.
Security officials arrived at the scene of the excavation and found that the suspects had dug a hole 3-meters in diameter and 4-meters in depth.
They discovered a 5-meter-wide 2nd century A.D. mosaic at the site, and a heart-shaped stone column, reports said.
Museum officials who were also at the scene of the incident placed the artifacts under protection and launched an inquiry into the excavation.
Meanwhile, police in Bilecik's İnhisar district detained two suspects who illegally obtained broken stones dating back to the Byzantine era.
The suspects had been secretly carrying out illegal excavations in a rented field, and dug around four meters in total, Ihlas News Agency reported.
Police also confiscated 39 excavation tools used by the suspects and launched legal proceedings against the suspects.
Turkish police have detained hundreds of people who want to take advantage of Turkey's rich historical remains.