It will take at least another three years and some 40 million euros for the excavation of ancient ruins discovered during the construction of the Thessaloniki metro, which is ongoing, to be completed, experts have estimated.
The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has recommended that the company constructing the network, Attiko Metro, spend another 42 million euros on the excavations, which have already cost almost 84 million. This would take the total cost of the work, which began in 2006, to more than 130 million euros – the same as it cost to build the Acropolis Museum.
However, experts say that there is a wealth of antiquities to be uncovered in Thessaloniki, which is producing more finds than Athens did when the capital’s metro was constructed.
“The archaeological digs for the Thessaloniki metro have revealed significant discoveries to do with the heart of the city from the era of Cassander, at the end of the 4th century BC, right up to now,” Michalis Tiverios, an archaeology professor at the Aristotle University who is advising Attiko Metro, told Kathimerini.
“It is like a history book whose pages are the successive layers of finds: from the Hellenist to the Roman eras, to the pre-Byzantine, Byzantine and Ottoman years, right up to the city’s first years of freedom.”
Initially it was thought that the digs in Thessaloniki would cost no more than 15 million euros and last a maximum of three years. So far, 135,000 artifacts have been found.