The Thessaloniki Metro and the Late Antique City

Update (04/30/13): a majority of the finds will be preserved in situ.

In the course of ongoing metro works in Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki, workers uncovered something extraordinary: the commercial heart of late antique Thessaloniki. More specifically, they found the city’s well preserved marble-paved decumanus alongside shops, workshops, buildings, and other public spaces. The majority of the remains date to the late antique period (4-6th centuries AD), though the BBC story (below) notes that Dark Age remains (6-9th centuries AD) have been found, too. Archaeologists in the city are calling it a “Byzantine Pompeii.” But there’s a problem: the ancient center sits directly below the modern city center (only some 6 meters), at the intersection of Venizelos and Egnatia Sts., where the central metro station is supposed to be installed.

There seem to be few good options moving forward. The city badly needs the metro, yet these remains should preserved. As of right now, the Central Archaeological Council has granted Attiko Metro SA permission to remove the remains and continue building the metro station.

For more, see this BBC story.

And for images of the remains, check out this video (h/t to Anthony Kaldellis):

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