An ancient Roman structure discovered in the eastern city of Malatya's Kuluncak district will be brought to the surface during an archaeological excavation set to begin this year.
The building, known as an agora, is believed to have acted as an important trading center and courtroom in the Roman era.
"The center, which was found during excavations carried out in Kuluncak's Kaynarca village, was the foundation of an agora," said Malatya Archaeology Museum Director İzzet Esen. "We have been carrying out excavations in the village for the last year. When we first saw the mosaic in Kuluncak we thought it did not cover a very large area and that we could bring it to the surface easily."
He said the archaeologists had originally planned to take the mosaic to a museum, but further excavations showed that it covered a larger area than they originally imagined. Instead, they were standing on the ground of a complex structure, a "Basilica," located in an Agora that acted as a trading center and courtroom in the ancient Roman city.
Esen believes the excavations to be conducted in September or October will bring the complete structure to the surface. He said the museum has also prepared a project for the mosaics, which will be covered with wood and turned into an open-air museum. He promised that the museum will take the necessary security measures and protect the structure from environmental damage.
"This structure shows that it was a significant settlement area in the Roman era. This is why it is also important in tourism," he said.
Esen added that the museum plans to ask the Culture and Tourism Ministry for YTL 25,000 for the open-air museum project and excavations.