Documentations and Inventories


Archeological researches


The main source of information about archaeological heritage in Turkey are researches undertaken by academic agencies. The archaeological researches are under three different categories varying depending on the degree of authorization and methods employed. Excavation studies are type of research works carried out in an antique site searching all aspects of ancient environment concerned. Second type of researches are under the category of surveys studying all aspects of archaeological matters with non-destructive methods and sampling.

These research studies are subject to authorization by the Turkish Ministry of Culture. In 1994, the number of archaeological excavations conducted by national and international scientific campaigns was 107; whereas archaeological surveys of Turkish and International teams were only 30 and 46 respectively all over Turkey on different cultures and civilizations. Both types of researches are concerned more with scientific inquiry rather than safeguarding archaeological heritage under negative effects of urban development.


The third type of researches, called also rescue excavations, are more directly involved urban archaeological matters, mostly carried out by local museum staff. Such excavation projects have to be completed within a limited time, usually within 3-4 months, and scarce resources as in many rescue operations. The number of rescue excavations done by the local museums to prevent unauthorized excavations was 83 in 1994. On the other hand, rescue excavations to prevent urban archaeological heritage from negative effects of modern development and archaeological investigations on urban lands for building permits undertaken by the local museum staff, those financed by public sources only, were 187 and 78 respectively.


Documentation of inventories


Since 1989 the works of documentation and inventories for archaeological sites and monuments have been carried out by the Department of Registration in the Directorate General for the Preservation of Cultural and Natural Entities within the body of the Ministry of Culture. A necessary survey including most effected parts under the risk of modern developments has not been accomplished yet.

For any archaeological entity to be considered worthy of conservation, it should first be selected by the Regional Commission authorized in the area. These Regional Commissions are local bodies of the Ministry of Culture to handle the matters of safeguarding the cultural entities. These sites are designated, scheduled and documented by the Commissions concerned. The Department of Registration is responsible to keep the documentation and all kinds of decisions related to scheduled cultural entities in a central databank.


The Ministry of Culture informs other related Ministries, Provincial Authorities, Municipalities, Museums, Cadastral Offices and the owners of the properties through its related bodies about scheduling to follow. Those designated areas for preservation are taken as given inputs to the various urban planning studies at different levels.


Yet the compilation of inventories are not set in continous and dynamic process. Documentation of inventories and all kinds of data accumulated within the bodies of the Ministry of Culture has not been provided sufficiently in a computerized media either at central or local level. However, the Ministry recently put in action a pilot project managing database system in GIS for archaeological sites in the province of Izmir.


The archaeological potentials in urban areas which are subject to be investigated by all means of archaeological methods are under the authorization of local museums, hence, are not fully and professionally documented. Therefore the dissemination of information resulting from field work would not be easily realized. Moreover, the records going back even recent past are not available to examine.


The Ministry of Culture has launched projects for some prominent urban archaeological sites to create a database of previous researches and local Museums' interventions including those unpublished. Such projects have paved the way to the first examples of urban archaeological maps in Turkey, though with a limited degree of success. The capital city of Ankara, with its newly completed archaeological master plan and its implications on the general planning process is in the leading among these projects.


Another distinct example in data management efforts in urban archaeology, the research outcome concerning Foça, shows the characteristics of a model for a typical East Mediterranean coastal town having historic urban fabric with archaeological heritage in their coherence. The town of Foça has designated areas of both archaeological importance and urban heritage, which enables us to evaluate the material authenticity of the site safely by urban archaeological methods. The complete analytical study of all kind of archaeological data, such as previous publications, salvage excavation and test-sondage reports, itineraries, etc.,in the context of urban history has been accomplished to have a database of archaeological map of ancient Phokaia.