Conservation practices at foreign-run archaeological excavations in Turkey: a critical review

Öz Wood, Bilge Nilgün
Foreign-run excavations are a significant component of archaeological research in Turkey, however, conservation work carried out at these excavations has not been examined in a holistic manner. This research investigates archaeological conservation at foreign-run excavations to identify the scale and nature of differing contributions, and to determine changing approaches, issues impacting conservation practices, as well as possible catalysts, influences and driving forces. The thematic scope, ‘conservation of archaeological sites’ and related practices, includes technical, socio-political and economic perspectives in a way that reflects developing trends in heritage conservation. The temporal scope of this research concentrates on the period 1979-2014. The sources used are previously published literature, interviews with directors, conservation professionals and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as site observations. A representative sample of 19 foreign-run excavations was selected. The research has identified a significant move towards the integration of conservation work into archaeological processes, and also that architectural conservation remains a major focus at almost all of the sites. Despite the widening scope of conservation practices to embrace the use of management planning and the involvement of local communities, these remain less widespread. The growing variety of funding sources has enabled the implementation of numerous large and small-scale conservation projects but conservation work, primarily architectural conservation, has been mostly implemented through private funding. Issues such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s lack of consultation, its architectural emphasis on conservation, as well as institutional cooperation, are some of the more pressing problems, while pervading links between Turkey’s repatriation efforts and archaeological permits also impact conservation. International guidelines, operational and regulatory frameworks, financial sources, differences in national approaches, and key individuals are identified as various possible catalysts, influences and driving forces behind conservation practices.


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Citation Formats
B. N. Öz Wood, “Conservation practices at foreign-run archaeological excavations in Turkey: a critical review,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2017.