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Assessing the values and meanings attributed by inhabitants in multilayered rural heritage places: the case of Çavdarhisar

Orhon, Gönül Ayça
Many cities, villages and towns have been described as multi-layered settlements in Anatolia, which has been a settlement for ages. The study focuses on the settlements where rural and archaeological heritage sites overlap. Today, integrated approaches to the conservation of these places are still lacking, and the focus is generally on the values and problems of the ancient city. The heritage values of the recent past are reduced to physical characteristics and the continuity of the settlements is interrupted by interventions. In this context, Çavdarhisar District of Kütahya, which is one of the settlements where the rural and archaeological sites coexist, has been examined in three layers as “ancient”, “recent past” and “present”. In-depth interviews with the inhabitants of Çavdarhisar in order to understand the mutual relationship between the locals and place constitute the essential part of the context that is described “today”. During the interviews, the daily life of the people, building uses, production processes, local narratives and memoirs were examined to reveal the values and relationships that the local people attributed to the heritage site. The physical juxtapositions of the present and the past were assessed through the data collected from the interviews. In the rural settlement of Çavdarhisar, where juxtapositions sometimes turn into conflicts, the visibility of these findings in conservation practices was discussed and evaluated. In this study, the conservation of multi-layered settlements with participatory and integrated approaches is discussed on the basis of the current layer and its users. Because the old village center of Çavdarhisar, which is almost empty today, is tearing off the rural heritage values due to the conflicts between the layers and stakeholders. Recognizing and conserving the recent past and present of the district as well as the archaeological layer is possible by identifying the heritage values and problems of its users directly associated with this layer. This research aims to contribute to the studies conducted on this purpose.