“Engaging Society in Archeological Work: Cases from İstanbul” European Archeology Days 2022

17 Jun, 2022




European Archeology Days

17.06.2022 @ Istanbul Bilgi University santralistanbul Campus


Archeological work not only includes researching, documenting, excavating and protecting archaeological assets, but also ensuring that society has access to archeological knowledge and heritage. The knowledge obtained through archaeological studies constitute the primary source for the history of the area where they are found. Access to archaeological work with all its different aspects certainly enriches peoples’ knowledge about the histories of places that they are part of and perhaps equally significantly, deepens their engagement with issues regarding the heritagization of archeological properties.  As archeological work progresses, interesting questions emerge regarding the multi-layered history of places and the continuities and disruptions in the ways human societies shaped their lives, how social change occurred in particular times and settings. As people reflect on the findings of archeological research, the past becomes closer, people can compare past and present practices, question existing paradigms and received ideas, and gain sensitivity about the protection of archaeological assets.


In this regard, it is of great importance to engage people in the production of archaeological knowledge through various channels, such as museums, exhibitions, archaeological parks, archaeological sites, publications, travel routes and digital presentations. Mindful that archaeological knowledge is not limited to the findings of research regarding a particular site, but also concerns the excavation process itself, its documentation, preservation and its display, it may be argued that process-oriented and integrated exhibition, communication, and learning approaches adopted by institutions carrying out archeological work would be more successful in terms of reaching society and engaging people.


In the Valletta Convention (1992), which was accepted by Turkey, the "Promotion of Public Awareness" article (Article 9) defines the issue as "to conduct educational actions with a view to rousing and developing an awareness in public opinion of the value of the archaeological heritage for understanding the past and of the threats to this heritage". Today, we look at the importance of public access to archaeological knowledge from a broader perspective than defined in the Valletta Convention. The 2005 FARO Convention of the Council of Europe is noteworthy in this regard. The Convention makes a significant initiative in this sense by placing human development at the center of the conservation and sustainable use of cultural heritage.


“Engaging Society in Archeological Work: Cases from İstanbul” is organized as part of the European Archeology Days 2022. The aim of this event is to discuss how institutions that take part in different stages of archeological projects in Istanbul, from research to exhibition, try to make their work accessible to the society. The event is being organized by Istanbul Bilgi University Cultural Policy and Management Research Center (KPY) in collaboration with Europa Nostra Turkey and the Association of Archaeologists Istanbul Branch. 



“Engaging Society in Archeological Work: Cases from İstanbul”



 13:00 - 17:00 at santralistanbul Campus E1-301


INTRODUCTION: SARAT project: Insights into Relations between Archeology and Society in Turkey

Dr. Lutgarde Vandeput (Director of the BIAA—British Institute at Ankara)




Current State of the Archeological Work in Istanbul

Moderator: Gülbahar Baran (Head of the Association of Archaeologists Istanbul Branch)

  • Istanbul Prehistoric Research and Bathonea Excavations

Prof. Şengül Gündoğan Aydıngün (Director of Küçükçekmece Lake Basin (BATHONEA) Excavations, Kocaeli University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Prehistory)


  • IstYA Project 2013-2021

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emre Güldoğan (Istanbul University, Department of Archeology, Prehistory)


  • Beşiktaş, Kabataş, Haydarpaşa Excavations

Rahmi Asal (Director of Istanbul Archaeological Museums)


  • Küçükyalı Arkeopark

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alessandra Ricci (Koç University)

Prof. Nuran Zeren Gülersoy (Işık University)


Preservation and Restoration of Archaeological Assets

Moderator: Prof. Zeynep Kuban (İstanbul Technical University)

  • Bukoleon Palace and Istanbul Land Walls

Oktay Özel (Head of Cultural Properties Department, İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality)


  • Church of Euphemeia

Sevim Aslan (Conservation Architect, DS Architecture)


15:00 - Tea-Coffee Break

15:15 PANEL:

Engaging Society in Archaeological Work: Institutional Approaches

Moderator: Prof. Asu Aksoy (Art and Cultural Management Programme, Istanbul Bilgi University)


  • Istanbul Archeology Museums – Rahmi Asal (Director of Istanbul Archaeological Museums)
  • İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality –Mahir Polat (IMM Deputy Secretary-General)
  • Anatolian Civilizations Research Institute – Dr. Buket Coskuner (Manager, ANAMED Anatolian Civilizations Research Institute)