A 12,000-year-old lake dried up after a team of treasure hunters carried out an authorized excavation to unearth an ancient trove in Turkey's northern Gümüşhane province, a report said Friday.
Located some 50 kilometers from the town center, and near Dumanlı Village in the Taşköprü Plateau, Lake Dipsiz (Bottomless) was drained after two individuals submitted an application to the Gümüşhane Governor's Office to carry out an excavation.
The governor and the Gümüşhane Culture and Tourism Directorate both authorized the controversial excavation to seek gold in the ancient lake, Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported.
Lake Dipsiz pictured before the excavation (DHA Photo)
The excavations carried out under the supervision of the gendarmerie who did not allow anybody to come near the site, stopped after four days as the treasure hunters were unable to find any gold.
The treasure hunters were allegedly trying to reach the trove of the 15th Apollinaris Legion (Legio XV Apollinaris), which was one of the four largest military units of the Roman Empire in Asia Minor. The legion was stationed in the area for some period around 134.
In a statement, the Governor's Office acknowledged that they authorized the excavation made by two individuals to seek a treasure. The statement noted that the excavation site was filled following the four-day dig.
"No cultural asset has been discovered in the area during the treasure excavation," the statement added.
The governor's statement did not identify the excavators or why their excavation was authorized.
Photos of the lake show that it has been completely drained and filled with earth, even though the governorate claimed that the lake area has been restored to its previous state.
Dating back to the ice age, the lake does not have any source of water.