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Turkey's Hidden Walls

Penny Young on Turkey's equivalent to Hadrian's Wall

Built around 1500 years ago to keep the barbarian hordes away, but out of bounds or forgotten for centuries, Turkey's Long Walls are emerging from the thickets and brambles of eastern Thrace.

The survey is being carried out by a team from the University of Newcastle- upon-Tyne. James Crow, a lecturer in Roman archaeology, who heads the team, said: 'It is the most monumental linear fortification dating from antiquity in continental Europe, comparable only with Hadrian's Wall in its complexity and preservation'.

The Long Walls of Thrace are forty miles west of Istanbul. The structure is also known as the Anastasian Wall because it is generally believed to have been built by Anastasius I in the late fifth century. The wall has been described as an almost unknown example of late Roman linear defence. It was built complete with towers, gates, forts, ditches and a military way to protect Constantinople, capital of the eastern Roman Empire, from invasions from the west by Huns, Slavs and Bulgarians.

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