Subway work unearths ancient road in Greece
Archaeologists in Greece's second-largest city have uncovered a
70-metre (230-foot) section of an ancient road built by the Romans that
was the city's main travel artery nearly 2,000 years ago.
The marble-paved road was unearthed during excavations for
Thessaloniki's new subway system, which is due to be completed in four
The road in the northern port city will be raised to be put on
permanent display when the metro opens in 2016.
The excavation site was shown to the public when details of the
permanent display project were also announced. Several of the large
marble paving stones were etched with children's board games, while
others were marked by horse-drawn cart wheels.Also discovered at the
site were remains of tools and lamps, as well as the bases of marble
Viki Tzanakouli, an archaeologist working on the project, told The
Associated Press the Roman road was about 1,800 years old, while remains
of an older road built by the ancient Greeks 500 years earlier were
found underneath it.
"We have found roads on top of each other, revealing the city's
history over the centuries," Tzanakouli said.
"The ancient road, and side roads perpendicular to it appear to
closely follow modern roads in the city today."
About 7 metres (23 feet) below ground in the centre of the city, the
ancient road follows in roughly the same direction as the city's modern
The subway works, started in 2006, present a rare opportunity for
archaeologists to explore under the densely populated city - but have
also caused years of delays for the project.
In 2008, workers on the Thessaloniki metro discovered more than 1,000
graves, some filled with treasure.
The graves were of different shapes and sizes, and some contained
jewelry, coins or other pieces of art.
A massive excavation project also took place during the 1990s in the
capital, Athens, before the city's new metro system opened in 2000.
Thessaloniki's new subway is already four years behind schedule, due
to the excavation work as well as Greece's financial crisis.
Thirteen stations will operate initially, before a 10-station
extension is added later.