Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) on Thursday decided to remove the antiquities unearthed during excavation work for the Thessaloniki metro, as Attiko Metro told KAS in a report obtained by Kathimerini that the original plan to keep the artifacts in situ was not reliable.
The report questions the method that had been proposed to protect the artifacts during the construction of the planned Venizelos metro station, deeming that such an approach would put both the antiquities and the metro station’s smooth operation at risk.
The presense of antiquities at the construction site – including an ancient road dating to the late Roman period – has fueled considerable controversy among archaeologists, local authorities and Attiko Metro, the company managing the project.
After a marathon overnight session, KAS decided to remove the antiquities and then reinstall them once the station station has been built.
The project is already years behind schedule due to the discoveries. Commissioned in 2003, the construction of the northern port city’s metro system was initially slated for completion by 2012.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said that the 2017 decision to proceed with construction with the artifacts in situ was “absolutely groundless.”