An investigation begun after a man was killed by a falling rock at the ancient city of Hasankeyf has revealed that construction vehicles working in the area have brought the 10,000-year-old settlement close to collapse.
“It is a crime by law to enter protected areas with heavy-duty vehicles. Before the rock broke, there were cracks but the necessary precautions were not taken,” said archaeologist Ercan Alpay, a member of the committee formed by the Initiative to Revive Hasankeyf to investigate the death of a man killed July 13 when a rock fell from a tower in the area.
After the fatal incident, the road to the ancient bazaar and tents located near the Tigris River were closed to vehicle and passenger traffic.
“Excavating with vehicles in a historical site has nothing to do with scientific research,” Alpay said, adding that such work can do massive damage to a fragile site such as Hasankeyf.
The committee, which includes archaeologists, architects and building and geology engineers, found in its report that caves used as dwellings as early as 800 B.C. had been damaged. It concluded that the ancient city is at risk of collapse.