Over the past six weeks I have had conversations, emails and Zoom meetings with Mustafa Sahin, director of excavations at Nicaea, along with Julia de Sigoyer, Professor of Tectonics at the French University of Grenoble Alpes and Pascal Guérin, a French filmmaker. As I announced a year ago, Professor Sahin and I published an article in the Biblical Archaeology Review describing the underwater basilica that was discovered in 2014 in ancient Nicaea (today’s Turkish city of Iznik). This was the church where the famed Council of Nicaea first met in AD 325. Dubbed as one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in 2014 by Archaeology, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, the underwater basilica at Nicaea will now become an underwater archaeological museum.
One of the big questions is: how was the basilica submerged? Professor Julia de Sigoyer has recently discovered several fault lines around Lake Iznik. The task that lies ahead is to date the past tectonic activity that has taken place around the lake and to describe what has taken place over the past 1700 years. Professor Sahin and Professor de Sigoyer have asked me to act as the historian for the research project. We have been joined by Pascal Guérin, a French filmmaker who will film the research project. Guérin plans a documentary in English for the general public. You can read the BAR article here: