Restoration or Something Else

On the day that I took Pat Yale to Troy, we called into the Archeology Museum in Çanakkale. The core collection of the museum came from Frank Calvert’s finds throughout the Biga Peninsula including Troy, Alexandria Troas and Assos. In an example of how things change, that museum building is now the central library for the town and the archeological items are in the new museum at Teşfikiye near Troy.

Pat Yale, a white woman with blond short hair and glasses, stands beside the replica of the wooden horse of Troy at the archaeological site.

After visiting the site of Troy, we also attempted to get into what used to be Thymbra Farm. If you read the book, you’ll know we weren’t successful.

So to make up for that, I brought her 7 km across the road to Kemerdere. Kemerdere itself is an abandoned village. The villagers were moved when a small dam was built across the river below the village. The village wasn’t affected on top of the ridge, but it was directly in the catchment for the dam lake. People still live there though.

A view of Kemerdere aqueduct before the restoration, stones are grey and the arch is unstable, with stones fallen in many of the smaller arches.

The name means “river with arch”, due to the presence of a Roman aqueduct passing over a small gorge on the river just above the town. The aqueduct is believed to have supplied Troy, though no one is quite sure what route it took. It could have been 20 to 30 km long and included sections of terracotta pipelines. The span is 16 m and the water channel is 27.5 m above the valley.

After talking to some old women in the village, Pat and I walked down the narrow and steep path for a look up at the arch. There’s a small pool below where local boys swim on summer days. It was quiet and peaceful and lovely on that September day.

A view of Kemerdere aqueduct, made of bright pale rock spanning a narrow gorge.

In another example of how things change, the tumbledown aqueduct, which didn’t fully span the gorge any longer, has now been renovated. It’s possible to reach the top and marvel at how clean and bright it all is. It has definitely been saved from collapse, but has it lost some of its charm?

A few more years and it might look more like itself again.

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