ISTANBUL, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Turkey plans to increase the number of archaeological excavations to 600 in 2021 as a gradual normalization from the COVID-19 restrictions has begun, NTV broadcaster reported Thursday.
The operations will be carried out to reveal the "traces of the past in Anatolia" with a budget of 64 million Turkish liras (7.36 million U.S. dollars), the NTV said, citing the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Preparations have been completed for 217 new excavations, with 31 of them run by foreign delegations, according to NTV.
The teams will not be very crowded and conduct the activities within the scope of the coronavirus-related measures, such as wearing masks and obeying the social distancing, NTV said.
Excavation houses, laboratories, working and living areas will also be disinfected at regular intervals.
Following more than two weeks of full lockdown, Turkey launched a gradual normalization from the COVID-19 restrictions on May 17 as the daily cases decreased below 7,000.
According to Arkeofili, an archeology magazine, over 500 studies were carried out in 2020 despite challenging pandemic conditions.
One of the most prominent was the discovery of a basilica-plan church constructed in the 4th century BC in the Derik district of the southeastern province of Mardin.
Additionally, a specific rectangular structure with a large and finely crafted marble floor and a mass grave inside was uncovered during the excavations at Haydarpasa Train Station in Istanbul's Asian side district of Kadikoy.
Numerous bones belonging to 38 people were also found in the grave. Arkeofili said there are also many single tombs near this early Byzantine structure. Enditem