Outrage as 2,500-Year-Old Tombs Used as Dumps in Turkey—What?

A ton of waste has been removed from the historical Amintas tombs so far.

Turkish officials have discovered that a cluster of important ancient tombs—located in the western province of Muğla and dating to the 4th century BC—have been used by locals as storage space and trash dumps.

The 2,400-year-old Amintas tombs, which include an Imperial Tomb, are considered the touristic jewels of the Fethiye district in Turkey, where the great ancient city of Telmessos once stood.

The Amintas tombs<br>Photo: via BGN News

The Amintas tombs
Photo: via BGN News

Their historical value, however, has not prevented locals from giving these priceless ruins a much more pedestrian use.

According to Hurriyet Daily News, locals had been using the 1.5 x 2 meter tombs to store items, including plastic bottles, carton boxes, and rubber tires. The tombs are cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so (unfortunately) they make for optimal storage space. It is also reported that some of the tombs had been covered with bushes and grass, and served as shelter for local dogs.

The tombs have already been cleaned by Fethiye Museum officials, following the officials’ discovery. Around one ton of rubber tires, plastic bottles and carton boxes has been removed so far. But the images of the dirty tombs, which are a big touristic destination, have sparked a debate around the protection of national heritage in Turkey.

The Amintas tombs in the western province of Muğla, Turkey, with waste stored in them.<br>Photo: via Hurriyet Daily News

The Amintas tombs in the western province of Muğla, Turkey, with waste stored in them.
Photo: via Hurriyet Daily News

“I tour the town with tourists on certain days of the week. Examining the historical artifacts in the region, European tourists sometimes say Turks do not respect history and protect it,” Salih Taşçı, deputy head of the Turkish Travel Agencies Union, told Hurriyet Daily News. “These areas are centers of attraction in Fethiye, so the protection of these tombs is very important.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics