Zeugma, located near Birecik Dam in the town of Nizip in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, drew international attention from archeology circles when part of the city was submerged under water as a result of the dam in the 1990s.
The city will be restored under the Zeugma Archeology Project, carried out by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry. The activities are expected to be completed by the end of August or the beginning of September. Zeugma is considered to have been among the four most important cities under the reign of the Kingdom of Commagene. It was named for the bridge of boats, or zeugma, that crossed the Euphrates there. Zeugma was originally founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 B.C. When mosaic fragments were discovered during construction of Birecik Dam, which commenced in 1996, the Gaziantep Museum had the work halted while excavations were carried out, revealing a bath and gymnasium and 36 mosaic panels, which were added to the museum’s collection.
From 1996 onwards, with the threat of being submerged under the waters of the new dam, salvage excavations were carried out by Nantes University in France together with archaeologists from the Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa museums.