Archaeological excavations to start under virus measures

Archaeological excavations to start under virus measures


The Culture and Tourism Ministry has unveiled a series of measures to be implemented for archaeological excavations, as the country makes preparations to reopen after having taken the coronavirus outbreak under control.

In a circular sent to museums, it has been stressed that archaeological excavations and surface analyses will start with strict measures on June 1.

The target is to start 400 excavations, 135 surface analyses and six underwater researches with local and international scientists at the beginning of June and finish by the end of the year.

The ministry informed excavation teams that they would go ahead with their work provided they take necessary measures against COVID-19.

According to the plan, all excavation areas will be disinfected at certain time periods. All personnel will work in line with physical distancing rules and will wear masks and gloves.

Thermal scanners will be deployed to screen temperatures for signs of fever twice a day, before and after shifts.

No visitors to the excavation labs, areas and stations will be allowed.

Archaeologists have also voiced excitement for the summer.

“The new archaeological season will be totally different. We will practice a new work order,” said Nevzat Çevik, the site director of the ancient city of Myra in Antalya, a southern province which is Turkey’s top tourism destination.

They say they are lucky, because they are looking for virus-free objects lying under soil which have remained clean for millenniums.

“It is to our advantage,” said Çelik, while also reminding that the fear of the virus would negatively impact their psychology and lead to a drop in the performance of teams.