Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey (SARAT)

Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey

Location: Turkey

Year(s):  2017-2020

Leading Institution: The British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) 

With the support of and parternship with the
Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism | General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums

Partner Institutions: 

Funding:  The Cultural Protection Fund / British Council    Total Ammount: £923,660

Under BIAA SRI(s):  Cultural heritage, society and economy in Turkey 

Website: TBA

Summary: This project aims to build capacity and raise awareness  for safeguarding archaeological assets in Turkey, with a focus on those in south-eastern provinces, Antalya and Istanbul. 

Focus area  

South East Turkey is rich in cultural heritage ranging from prehistory through to the modern day. These areas possess archaeological remains that represent pivotal stages in human history: from the earliest centres of the Neolithic Period (e.g. Göbeklitepe) and the first farming villages of the Near East (e.g. Çayönü); through to the well-preserved cities of the Roman imperial period (e.g. Zeugma); and unique medieval Muslim and Christian monuments (e.g. Diyarbakir). It is an internationally significant region, and is well represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Besides museums in Istanbul and Antalya, major touristic hubs of Turkey; South-East Anatolia has a number of newly opened venues which house unique and priceless regional archaeological collections.Therefore, it is important to prepare these places and their personnel for emergency situations and to protect them from the threats that affect the whole region. 

Building capacity and raising awareness for safeguarding archaeological assets

Throughout this project, customized training in both risk management and rescue will address the specific needs of regional museums to safeguard archaeological heritage and prepare them for emergency measures, which will result in tangible outcomes for safeguarding the local archaeological assets.

In addition to this, a number of initiatives will take place for antiquities collectors, journalists and the media to raise awareness of the cultural heritage and the long-term impact of looting and illicit trade. An ‘‘ask an expert’’ system for fast fact-checking will be established to improve the quality and accuracy of reporting related to archaeology.

Finally, a nation-wide survey to map public perceptions and value of heritage, a first for the country, will be conducted. Its results will lead to workshops for heritage professionals and local authorities that involve using heritage assets to build economic and social capital in communities and will also contribute to better protection and appreciation of archaeological assets in Turkey.