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TAP Works Reveal Multiple Archaeological Finds

18 October 2018

Greece. 20 October 2018 marks International Archaeology Day and, on this occasion, TAP retraces the significant archaeological finds unearthed in Greece, during pipeline construction. Construction works carried out along the route of the pipeline in Northern Greece, from Kipoi in Evros to Ieropigi in Kastoria, resulted in 400+ rescue excavations and trial cultural heritage investigations, from which multiple findings have been brought to life. 

TAP has employed 650 experts in archaeological research (archaeologists, topographers, designers, etc.) to work on archaeological activities in Greece. This includes specialists that have worked for the project, under the supervision of the local Ephorates of Antiquities and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

 

* The respective Ephorates of Antiquities hold the rights to the photographs

 

Archaeological findings span over 7,000 years of history

More than 7,000 years of history can be seen between the oldest and newest archaeological findings unearthed thanks to TAP-related excavations. The first category comprises findings such as traces of a settlement from the 6th-5th millennium BC from Antigonos in Florina; potsherds dating to the Neolithic period (ca. 5,300-3,200 BC) from Messorachi in Serres; remnants of an early Bronze Age settlement (3,200-2,000 BC), in the Avdira Municipality of Xanthi; and a cemetery from the same period in Perdikkas, Kozani – the latter considered a significant discovery as one of the earliest of its kind excavated in Greece.  

The more recent findings on the other hand, date from the post-Byzantine period, as is the case with the aqueducts excavated in the Municipalities of Topeiros and Avdira –both in Xanthi–, as well as part of a church unearthed in Poria, Kastoria. Even more recent is a 19th-century Serbian coin found in a grave located in the village of Pyrgoi in Kozani.    

 

Innovative construction methods for the protection of cultural heritage

True to our commitment to maintain cultural heritage and protect sensitive sites, innovative and non-invasive methods were used for the construction of the pipeline. The Byzantine Wall of Anastasioupolis, located in the Amaxades area of Rodopi, is an indicative example. It is a 2.4km structure dating back to the Justinian period and combining the dual role of aqueduct and fortification. In accordance with TAP’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) commitment to leave the monument unaffected, the construction of the pipeline in the area was carried out without any trenching.

 

Great variety of findings  

According to the local Ephorates of Antiquities cooperating with TAP, excavations conducted for the construction of the pipeline have enriched both archaeological topography and scientific knowledge. At the same time, the many unknown archaeological sites that have come to light, further broaden the prospects for further research. Indicative examples are the Roman cemeteries found in the "Theodosia" and "Isoma" sites of Kilkis, as well as the early Byzantine three-nave basilica in Potamos (Evros). Regarding the latter, TAP will follow up on the works by funding the reconstruction of the monument. 

Overall, among the various treasures of Greek cultural heritage unearthed are multiple findings –both movable and immovable– attesting to human presence in Northern Greece since the prehistoric times:

  • Cemeteries or individual graves, some of them containing grave goods
  • Artisan workshops and artefacts (kilns, traces of metalworks, textile-making tools, etc.)
  • Remnants of settlements (waste-disposal pits, walls and fortifications, churches, aqueducts)
  • Additional sporadic findings, such as ceramics, coins, etc.

The above findings are expected to be recorded, conserved and exhibited and tell the long story of the place in which they were found.   

 

TAP's approach to archaeological finds

Archaeological works conducted in the Northern Greek areas (Thrace, Eastern Macedonia, Central Macedonia and Western Macedonia) crossed by TAP, were carried out as per:

  • the relevant Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation that TAP has signed with both the Ministry of Culture and the Ephorates of Antiquities of all the regional units. 
  • TAP’s cultural heritage management plans, put in place to ensure –where possible– the preservation of any archaeological artefacts and sites along the pipeline route.

More specifically, during the implementation of the works, TAP collaborated with 13 Ephorates of Antiquities along its route, where more than 400 investigative trials and archaeological excavations were performed. 

As an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), and following the second Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Energy 2016 call for proposals, in February 2017 TAP was awarded a grant of €14,018,347. These amounts have been used to fund archaeological trial trench investigations and rescue excavations along the pipeline lots 2 and 3 in Greece (Kavala to Kastoria, approximately 360km in total).