The ancient city of Patara, known for its historical and archaeological significance, is set to witness the rebuilding of the lighthouse constructed by the Roman Emperor Nero. The lighthouse, believed to have collapsed during the tsunami of 1481, will be reconstructed using artificial intelligence technology.
In 2020, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism designated it as the Patara Year, a year dedicated to celebrating the ancient city of Patara, now known as Ovagelemiş Village in the province of Fethiye. Patara is not only significant for its archaeological and historical value but also as a nesting site for the Caretta-Caretta Mediterranean turtles, who have been breeding there for millions of years.
Excavations in Patara Ancient City began in 1988 under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Fahri Işık and Prof. Dr. Havva İşkan Işık. These excavations have yielded hundreds of historical artifacts, particularly from the Lycian culture.
Among the discoveries, the lighthouse constructed by Emperor Nero in 64 AD stands out as one of the most significant. After 12 years of excavations, it was found that the lighthouse consisted of 2,500 original stones.
To reconstruct the lighthouse, 500 stones that cannot be used statically have been replaced on the completed 6-meter podium. The Antalya Governorship Investment Monitoring and Coordination Directorate submitted the application for the reconstruction.
A technical report was created in the 15th century to prevent the lighthouse from collapsing again in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. The reconstruction will incorporate various components such as steel spirals, pipes, rods, epoxy resin glue, carbon-fiber mesh reinforcement, and high-strength natural hydraulic lime-binder mortar.
Throughout the excavations, the original locations of the 2,500 stones were determined using artificial intelligence technology and computer software. X-rays were taken of the stones, and after being tested in the lab, they were scanned in three dimensions. About 2,050 excavated stones were laser studied to ensure proper placement in the reconstruction.
The preservation of the stones, which spent over a thousand years underground after the collapse of the lighthouse, is a significant advantage for the current rebuilding process. Each stone has been carefully examined for its physical and chemical characteristics.
Only when the stones are set in their original positions can the concave and convex surfaces of the polygonal and rectangular stones align correctly. The lengthy study was necessary to individually x-ray and examine each stone in the stone hospital to determine their condition.
The reconstruction of the Patara lighthouse showcases the harmonious combination of historical conservation and modern technological advancements. It allows visitors to experience the grandeur of the past while appreciating the importance of preservation for future generations.