Efforts to restore Gümüşhane lake wiped off map fail

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Efforts to restore a 12,000-year-old lake in Turkey’s northeastern Gümüşhane province, which was wiped off the map by an excavation triggered by an urban myth last year, have failed.

The lake, whose water was drained after the Gümüşhane Governor’s Office allowed a treasure hunt, failed to hold the desired level of water.

“It is seen that the lake holds water after pouring snow into it to melt,” said a written statement made by governor’s office.

The statement also said natural spring water has been used to supply water to the lake, the bottom of which was prepared and linked with a cylinder, by pipelines from a stream next to it.

However, experts say that the natural structure of the lake, where water supplements will be made continuously, has been irreversibly deteriorated and its current form can only be an “artificial lake.”

In 2019, a permission was given upon an application by an anonymous citizen claiming that the treasure of an ancient Roman legionary was at the bottom of the lake.

After the treasury excavation works were stopped without a result, it turned out that the former lake area was being filled with soil.

The pictures of the lake filled with soil sparked fury across the country.

Academics also lashed out at the incident, which effectively marked the extinction of one of the country’s rare glacier lakes.

The Archaeologists Association and the Ankara Bar filed a criminal complaint against those responsible for granting a treasure search on the lake over “abuse of power.”

Archeological excavations began at the site of a Roman legionary base in the ancient city of Satala in Gümüşhane’s Kelkit district in 2018.

Satala had been established around the 15th Apollinaris legion, one of the four biggest legions in Anatolia, according to archeologist Şahin Yıldırım from Bartın University.

Gümüşhane, located on a junction extending from Syria to Caucasus, was an area where important silver and gold mines existed in ancient times.

An Aphrodite bust known to have been smuggled from Gümüşhane in the 19th century is currently exhibited at the British Museum in London.

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