Antiquities and Archaeology
Ancient tunnels discovered under Turkish home during renovation
The owner plans to fully excavate the site in central Anatolia and open it to tourists
By Garry Shaw. Web only
Published online: 01 September 2014
Workers, renovating a home in central Anatolia, Turkey, were surprised to discover a network of ancient tunnels underneath the house. Mustafa Bozdemir, who inherited the single-storey house in Kayseri Province five years ago, has requested permission from local authorities to fully excavate the site.
As the builders began making space beneath the property for new storage areas, they discovered, just a few metres below the ground, the entrance to a rock-cut tunnel. Four storeys of underground dwellings, thought to date to the Roman period, covering an area about 2,500 sq.m, have so far been cleared by the workers. Estimates suggest that about 80% of the tunnels have now been unearthed, at a cost of around €80,000. Among the finds have been bones, which since analysed by staff from Erciyes University in Kayseri. Once work is complete, Bozdemir plans to open the site to tourists.
Central Anatolia is famous for its rock-cut dwellings, which are typically multilevel and could house thousands of people. Although it is unclear when some of these underground cities were first dug and occupied, some were created by local Christians in the eighth-century, and included kitchens, stables, wine presses, chapels and tombs.
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