Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


10 February 2013

Appeal to preserve important antiquities in the Thessaloniki Metro

Association of Greek Archaeologists, press release

Archaeologists have brought to light the heart of Byzantine Thessaloniki during the construction of the city’s underground railway network. The finds are remarkably intact and include: a 76-metre section of the city’s main paved road (decumanus) which was found in excellent condition, built remains dating from the 6th-9th century AD, and—most rarely of all—large public structures from the 7th century. Since both the Byzantine main road and the new Metro tunnel run under modern-day Egnatia Street (at depths of 6 and c.11 metres respectively), they provide an excellent snapshot of Thessaloniki’s built development over the centuries in which different eras from the city’s past and present can be viewed side by side.

Despite appeals made by the Association of Greek Archaeologists for the issue to be reexamined, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports has decided to have the antiquities detached and moved. This decision, which concurs with the proposals put forward by the technical staff of ATTIKO METRO SA, would deprive the city of the potential to create a unique archaeological site within a Metro station.

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