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Illegal archaeological excavations in Salamis, the occupied part of Cyprus, have been carried out since 1998 by the University of Ankara in collaboration with the University of the Eastern Mediterranean, violating international treaties and conventions since then.
These excavations are regularly mentioned in the Turkish Cypriot press and yesterday an extensive report was published in the newspaper "Liberal", entitled "Fervent excavations in Salamis: new finds in illegal excavations”.
In the latter, extensive Roman baths have been found and since 2001, when they began to be common, a three-kilometer-long path from Roman times has been found, which was completely excavated and extends east-west, from the gate main town to the old port.
North of the road, excavations on a small knoll have revealed two other very small roads, one leading to the baths and the other to the gymnasium and amphitheater.
Another important discovery mentioned in the report suggests that the northern entrance to the city would have been sealed off, presumably during the Arab invasions. Two Corinthian columns in perfect condition were found behind the sealed door.
In 2003, work continued on the south side of the Roman road, where the residential area of the old city is located. During the excavations carried out last year, three large statues of more than two meters in height dating from the second century BC were found, discovered in the area of the Roman baths.
One of them is believed to represent a Roman emperor, the second the god Hades, and the third the goddess Persephone. Fragments of two other statues, in this case Satyres, were also found in the same area.
The illegal excavations at Salamis have been strongly criticized by the international archaeological community. According to the International Hague Convention, signed by Cyprus and Turkey, archaeological work on lands under foreign occupation is strictly prohibited. The Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has registered a formal complaint with UNESCO, the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
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