LECTURE: Archaeologists and Treasure Hunters on the Tigris

06 November 2018 18:30 to 20:30 | London

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y 5AH

When British Consul-General and explorer J. G. Taylor surveyed the remains of Arzan in the province of Batman, he stumbled upon something remarkable - treasure littering its ancient streets:

“So many medals of gold and silver are found here that the fellahs who till the ground are paid nothing by the owner…and they give him in addition half of what they may find.”

That was in the 1860s, however the ‘farming’ of antiquities continues to this day, providing subsistence for those who need it and feeding ‘get rich quick’ dreams.  All that is needed is a scruffy map, a barely legible sign, a bit of luck, and sometimes a metal detector bought online.

In this lecture, Dr Gül Pulhan – who leads a salvage excavation in the area – will describe the efforts of the Batman, Mardin and Diyarbakır regional archaeology museums to protect archaeological heritage by conducting scientific excavations, producing exhibitions, raising awareness and undertaking educational programmes for children and adults.  The current Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey (SARAT) project – led by the BIAA and funded by the UK Cultural Protection Fund – is involved in spearheading similar endeavours.

Dr Gül Pulhan received her PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology from Yale University. Her specialisms are the Bronze Ages of northern Mesopotamia, Cultural Heritage Management and Museum Studies. She was among the founding faculty members of the Department of Archaeology and the History of Art at Koç University. Since 2009 she has conducted salvage excavations at Gre Amer, Batman as part of the Ilısu Dam Salvage Project. She currently coordinates the SARAT project (Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey) funded by the Cultural Protection Fund on behalf of the BIAA.

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