Fresh off of gaining two new entries to the UNESCO World Heritage List, Turkey is more eager than ever to exercise greater caution regarding access to ancient sites in an effort to avoid the fate that has befallen other ancient sites damaged by 21st-century tourism.
“A balance must be achieved between attracting tourists keen to visit Turkey’s classical heritage and protecting ancient sites from being harmed,” Professor Neslihan Dostoğlu, head of Istanbul Kültür University’s Architecture Department, said in the wake of the northwestern city of Bursa and its historical Cumalıkızık district being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List last month in Doha.
Having presided over the UNESCO project for Bursa and Cumalıkızık, Dostoğlu said a more controlled and conscious protection of the areas would take place under the United Nations body. Read more.
A Greek statue was unearthed during an illegal excavation in the western province of Kütahya’s Simav district last April. The statue, which is 610 kg in weight and 2.8 meters in height, is thought to be in the image of the goddess Demeter, from Greek mythology.
Recently, the Kütahya Museum Directorate kicked off archaeological excavations in the same area in collaboration with the Simav Municipality, in order to search for other pieces from the statue.
The excavations, which have been ongoing for three days, have so far unearthed a cremation center, where the dead people were burned and buried. This center is estimated to date back to the Roman era. Read more.
Turkey has been elected to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) intergovernmental committee for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on June 4.
Turkey surpassed France and Italy to claim a seat emptied by Spain’s withdrawal from the committee, Davutoğlu said in the southwestern province of Muğla, pledging hard work in line with UNESCO’s goals.
The election came at UNESCO’s fifth general assembly at its headquarters in Paris.
Turkey will serve for a four year term during 2014-2018. It served before in 2006-2010. The committee will have its ninth session in November this year. (source)
The head of a female sculpture has been seized in the southern province of Burdur.
Following a warning about cultural and natural smuggling, the provincial gendarmerie command stopped a car in the Bucak district’s Beşkonak village, discovering a 5-by-5-centimeter head of a female sculpture dating back to the Roman era inside the vehicle.
The sculpture was subsequently delivered to the Burdur Museum Directorate.
Suspect R.S. was released pending trial following questioning. (source)
Yenikapı excavations that started nearly 10 years ago has brought back Istanbul’s historical heritage to 8,500 years. A wooden notebook, which was found in a sunken ship, the replica of which will sail, is considered the Byzantine’s invention akin to the likes of the modern-day tablet computer.
During archaeological excavations, experts have also found striking information on animal culture, such as the meat of many animals, like horses and wild donkeys were eaten in the ancient era.
Remains unearthed in the excavations drew great attention not only in Turkish, but also in world archaeology. The remains have survived as organic products, which greatly impressed the scientific world. Read more.
Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has announced the list of historical artifacts held in foreign countries that it requested the return of last year, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
Among these artifacts include the Golden Wreath in Scotland, the marble head of Eros in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and Germany’s statue of the Old Fisherman, which was taken from Bergama Museum.
The ministry has accelerated its works to determine Turkey-rooted artifacts that are being kept in museums and collections abroad. As part of this push, the websites and catalogues of foreign museums and institutions dealing with the arts trade are taken into consideration, and the ministry has taken diplomatic and legal action for the return of the artifacts smuggled from Turkey. Read more.
A team of researchers with members from several countries has found evidence of the birth of pre-ceramic Neolithic populations in a region of what is now Turkey. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how excavations of various levels at Aşıklı Höyük, reveal the history of the people that lived there.
One of the great fascinating areas of archeological research is piecing together parts of the historical record that reveal major transitions, one of which is the move by early peoples from hunters to herders or farmers. In this new effort, the research team excavated a mound that developed due to human activities starting approximately 9000 years ago. Read more.
The Virgin Mary Monastery, located in the northern province of Giresun’s Şebinkarahisar district, has been undergoing a restoration project and is set to finish this year.
Turkey’s second biggest monastery built out of a mountain, the Virgin Mary Monastery is close to the village of Kayadibi. The restoration started on the monastery in 2006, said Giresun Provincial Culture and Tourism Deputy Director Hüseyin Günaydın, adding, “We plan to open the monastery to faith tourism within a short time.”
The Giresun Museum Director Hulusi Güleç said they estimated that the monastery had served since the 2nd century A.D.
“Christianity was outlawed for 200 years during the Roman era. During this period, Christian clergymen lived in remote places or in areas inside of mountains, like this monastery, to perform their religion. Read more.