Monumental architecture, cultural heritage management and local perceptions in and on Aspendos

Location:  Aspendos

Year: 2016  

Director: Lutgarde Vandeput, BIAA


Dr Işılay Gürsu, BIAA CHM Postdoctoral Fellow
Emrah Köşkeroğlu, Hacettepe University
Hakan Tarhan, postgraduate student, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies, CHM 

Funding:  BIAA, Ministry for Culture and Tourism

Under BIAA SRI(s):  

Cultural heritage, society and economy in Turkey, Habitat and Settlement in prehistoric, historical and contemporary perspectives



The BIAA is involved in the study of the monumental architecture at Aspendos and concentrated on the Nymphaeum flanking the agora. Scaffolding allowed research on the stability of the back wall of the fountain in preparation of a consolidation project. The scaffolding also enabled study of the remaining in situ architectural decoration, based on which the nymphaeum is usually dated to the Antonine period. Research now showed that this entablature does not belong with the original building, but was transferred from elsewhere at some point in time and is actually too small for the width of the back wall.

Parallel to the studies on monuments lining the visitor routes, the cultural heritage management project at Aspendos focused on four activities in 2016. The first relates to the people-centred approach adopted by the project, with interviews carried out with inhabitants of the nearby town of Serik to further understanding of the attitudes of the local community toward archaeological heritage, in particular Aspendos.

Secondly, another Children’s Day was organised. An important aim here is to create ‘memories’ related to the site and to highlight its importance.

A third activity focused on the Aspendos Landscaping Project and mainly on development of trekking and cycling trails connecting the site to its surroundings which will result in socio-economic benefits for local inhabitants.

A final activity concerns work on the presentation of the site through virtual reality. A 3D reconstructions specialist conducted work by means of Oculus Rift technology, focusing on the basilica. 

Resulting Publications: 

Edited book:
Gürsu, I. (ed., forthcoming) Public Archaeology: Theoretical Considerations and Current Practices, London: The British Institute at Ankara

Gürsu, I. (forthcoming) “From Site Management to Public Archaeology in Turkey”, in Gürsu I. (ed.) Public Archaeology: Theoretical Considerations and Current Practices in Turkey, London: The British Institute at Ankara.

Article in Conference Proceedings:
Baykal Büyüksaraç G. & Gürsu I. (2017) “Local Economy and Women’s Labour in the Context of Cultural Heritage: The Aspendos (Belkıs) Case”, in Şimşek G. (ed.) “Women and Cultural Heritage”, Aydin: Adnan Menderes University.

Gürsu, I. (2017) “Ankara İngiliz Arkeoloji Enstitüsü: Kültürel Miras Yönetimi Projesi, Aspendos ve Pisidya Bölgesi”, 38. Araştırma Sonuçları Toplantısı, Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Gürsu, I. (forthcoming) “Tourism and the privatization of archaeology”, in Tahan L. and Dallen T. (eds), Tourism and Archaeology, Bristol: Channel View Publications.

Lutgarde Vandeput is a classical archaeologist and has been the director of the BIAA since 2006. She holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. She participated in the excavations at Sagalassos and also in the Pisidia Survey Project, which she then directed between 1998 and 2012. She is currently involved in the Aspendos Archaeological Project. She is specialised in the study of monumental architecture, urban development and in survey archaeology and has recently been involved in the Cultural Heritage Management projects of the BIAA. She is PI of a BA Sustainable Development Award entitled ‘Living amid the Ruins’ for which she collaborates with Dr Işılay Gürsu.  She was faculty at the Universities of Leuven (Belgium) and Cologne (Germany) and is currently Visiting International Professor at the Ruhr-University in Bochum.

Belongs to;
Cultural Heritage Management

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