Ancient city preserved beneath mud

Published on January 21st, 2013 | by Sevaan Franks

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Some archaeologists believe that the ancient city of Myra in Turkey, which was buried beneath 18 feet of mud 700 years ago, may be well-preserved.

Archaeologists first detected the ancient city in 2009 using ground-penetrating radar that revealed anomalies whose shape and size suggested walls and buildings. Over the next two years they excavated a small, stunning 13th-century chapel sealed in an uncanny state of preservation. Carved out of the eastern wall is a cross that, when sunlit, beams its shape onto the altar. Inside is a vibrant fresco that is highly unusual for Turkey.

The chapel's structural integrity suggests that Myra may be largely intact underground. "This means we can find the original city, like Pompeii," said Nevzat Cevik, an archaeologist at Akdeniz University who is director of the excavations at Myra, beneath the modern town of Demre.

[Full story] Story: Jennifer Pinkowski, NYT | Photo: Myra-Andriake Excavations

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