How to Present, preserve and publish the archaeological heritage


Presenting, preserving and publishing form a triangle of benefit and gain which is promoted by the condition that they form an equilateral triangle. In other words, they must benefit from each other and enjoy perfect interdependency.


 Istanbul, looking at the Spendone of Hippodrome 


i) Urban archaeology in education


A direct contribution of urban archaeology to education is at the peripheral interest in Turkey. However, it is presented to the public for education purposes as well as for a pleasure and enjoyment of cultural interest as for town dwellers,tourists,adults and children.In order to interest of school children on urban archaeological heritage, a poster campaign under the title of "The City Under The City" parallel to the similar campaigns across Europe, has been organized for the city of Izmir in 1995.


Urban archaeology courses in curricula of Departments of Architecture and Planning should contribute vitally to the respective courses in history of architecture and history of planning as well as to the teaching programme in restoration. Urban archaeology as a distinct subject takes place in the curriculum of only one of the departments of urban planning at Ankara.


ii) Understanding of the historic environment


Urban archaeology "in situ" qualifies as a good assistance to complete the mosaic of our knowledge about the historical past of our cities which might end up in promoting the historical maps of archaeological eras. In present situation, archaeological heritage, particularly excavated lots within the urban fabric are not accessible. Therefore, such places where citizens could find an opportunity to contact with urban past promoting city's identity, need to be integrated with the present city life.


Some remarkable examples of archaeological site presentation in urban areas could be mentioned from Istanbul, Antalya and Bergama where urban dwellers can easily have access to these areas leading to a better awareness of cultural identity. Recently, the Municipality of Foça launched a presentation project at the edge of medieval fortification walls in which surviving remnants of Kybele shrine co-exists with multi-cultural layers of post antiquity.


iii) The dissemination of the information from urban archaeology


It surely is not enough to mark down the archaeological findings in the master plan of the city. What is needed is the dissemination of the information acquired, with the aim of developing future strategies for the publication of excavation. Information gathered in urban archaeological work is usually presented in a highly informal nature which does not conform to the standards required for a scientific publication. This information is also not made available to the public. Some remarkable efforts have been made in collecting and draft publishing the field reports in official use only.


iv) Problems of preservation, its methods and techniques


Problems of preservation of urban archaeological sites in Turkey concentrate on the following questions:


a) How to preserve them technically well,

b) How to open them to the public at large,

c) How to eliminate negative effects of (b) on (a).


Conservation of archaeological remains in situ inevitably involves some degree of deterioration of the cultural entities. Without planning, the tremendous number of trial digs are being worked on wherever there is a demand for new developments over archaeological potential areas in urban lands; so the available resources do hardly meet the needs of preserving and presenting the excavated archaeological heritage.


Methods and techniques of preservation in the schemes of site presentation are not always employed due to the lack of institutional framework and funds. Overcoming difficulties in enhancement and preserving the sites, project initiatives should be taken by using public and private resources available.


There are two kinds of problems regarding to apply preservation methods and techniques in the Turkish cases:


a) severe human interferences,

b) lack of technical knowledge.


Regarding the human interference, negative side effects of mass tourism on Sultan Ahmet square, old hippodrome site in Istanbul can be given as a typical example. Whereas, misuse of techniques in restoration and incorrect interpretation of archaeological finds are more frequent examples, such as Kızılavlu in Bergama, the medieval city, intra-muros in Antalya, Hacı Bayram square in Ankara, an ancient theatre site in Bodrum,etc.