The Culture Ministry has approved a proposal by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) for antiquities unearthed during excavation work for the Thessaloniki metro to be removed and repositioned there at a later date.
The antiquities were discovered during construction of the northern port city’s Venizelou metro station and debate over how to proceed has raised considerable controversy among archaeologists, local authorities and Attiko Metro, the company managing the project.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni’s decision approved the plan for the removal and repositioning of 92 percent of the antiquities as “this will achieve their best possible protection and enhancement.”
However, local bodies and groups in Thessaloniki, like the Citizens Movement for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, which want the antiquities to remain in situ are preparing to appeal the decision at the Council of State.
Following the ministry’s decision, Attiko Metro will launch a tender for the removal and repositioning of the antiquities.
The ministry has requested the submission of three studies, on the removal and repositioning of the antiquities, another for their protection and one for a lighting system to showcase them.
KAS has requested that the metro station does not operate before the antiquities are relocated.