Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Turkey Revoking Foreign Excavation Licenses

From Hurriyet Daily News:

When German archaeologist-businessmen Heinrich Schilemann stumbled upon the ancient city of Troy in today’s province of Çanakkale nearly 150 years ago, initiating the first archaeological excavation in Turkey, he could scarcely have thought other non-Turkish colleagues would one day be prevented from digging in the country’s soil.

Although many of Turkey’s myriad archaeological sites – such as Ephesus, Antioch, Troy, Knidos, Alacahöyük and Hattuşa – were initially found and dug by foreign archaeologists, recent announcements from Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry suggest this will soon change. The recent cancellation of several licenses for important digs that had been run by foreign scientists for decades, has precipitated a new debate on how to evaluate archaeological studies.

“Some of the foreign-run excavations are going well, but some groups only come here, work for 15 days and leave,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said regarding the reason for the canceled licenses. “We are not going to allow that. If they don’t work on it, they should hand it over.”

Among this year’s canceled licenses are Xanthos, Letoon and Aizonai in the provinces of Antalya, Muğla and Kütahya, respectively. The excavations had been conducted by French and German teams for many decades.

“What I am told is that there hasn’t been enough study in the area in recent years, that’s why the excavation was handed over to us,” Burhan Varkıvanç, the new head of the excavation team in Xanthos told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The story continues here.

HT: Joseph Lauer

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