The Van Region archaeological works are on the road to UNESCO

The Van Region History and Archaeology Centre, which was established by Istanbul University, continues the excavation works in the Van Region, which is on UNESCO tentative lists.

The Van Region History and Archaeology Centre Chairman and IU Faculty of Letters, Section of History, Ancient History Department Assoc. Prof. Dr. Erkan Konyar gave information about the archaeological works in the Van Region and the latest developments of it.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar, who emphasized that archaeological excavations are not activities carried out by archaeologists themselves, conveyed that studies were carried out with the contribution of many disciplines from biophysics to geophysics and again from geophysics to anthropology, and the main concern was to write the story of the community that had lived in the past. By assuming that Van Castle had been settled for almost 5 thousand years and its such a deeply rooted historical process was being dealt by the studies conducted, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar said that we had the opportunity to research Urartu, which is a society that had settled in a very aggressive climate and topography like Eastern Anatolia, established a solid structure, and brought many innovations like writing to the region at the same time, and even their ancestors.

On the other hand, Assoc Prof. Dr. Konyar, by implying that they have worked in Van for a long time and they have developed good relations with the people of the region, said children living in the region had been both entertained and earned protection reflexes for the works by taking part in a scientific activity with the children workshop that they had done.

We have a mission in the region as Istanbul University

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar , who mentioned Istanbul University has been working in the region since 1950 and a mission for 50-60-year is maintaining with the continuing excavations today, said: “The Van Region History and Archaeology Centre, which was established by our university, is a very important logistic base for our work. If it was not there, we could go to other regions.” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar, who had mentioned Prof. Dr. Afif Erzen, the founder of the Van Region History and Archaeology Research Centre, said that it was good to have such a vision in those years, we didn’t have this vision and perspective nowadays by referring the 60- year-old building with a laboratory of 50-60 people, a dining hall and a bedroom.

We are trying to benefit from the technology

Giving information about the technicality of the excavation process, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar said “The basic disciplines of archaeology never change, but since its approach may vary according to the occasion, our documentation, photography and drawing methods are also changing.” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar also indicated that they make use of the science of geophysics to make various screening works such as georadar and electromagnetism. Mentioning how they try to benefit from Istanbul University’s technological support in terms of field measurements and computer programs, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar implied that this technological support has made their lives easier and said, “We started shooting air photographs with drone, perhaps next year we will be shooting all of our photographs with drones.”

The Permanent List will bring significant advantages

Stating that the application process for UNESCO World Heritage List has been started with the works of Van Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, Van Museum and IU Van Regional History and Archaeology Research Center when a file was presented to the committee, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar said “We succeeded in entering the temporary list in September this year, and this is an elating development, but the next step will be to work for a permanent list,” and added that the permanent list will bring significant advantages.

Emphasizing that another work planned for the region is the reconstruction of the excavated areas of the Old City of Van, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Konyar said that a protocol is to be signed between Istanbul Univeristy, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Doğu Anadolu Kalkınma Ajansı (Eastern Anatolia Development Agency) and added, “All the preliminary projects have been started in terms of text, visuals and animations and we are very excited about the upcoming process.”

Story: Tuğçe AYÇİN, Neslihan KALKAN

Translated by İrem YAŞAR, Eda AYDEMİR

IU Department of Press and Public Relations

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