Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The SARAT Project: “Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey”

The SARAT Project

“SARAT” stands for “Safeguarding Archaeological Assets of Turkey”, a project whose goal is to increase knowledge, capacity, and awareness about protecting Turkey’s archaeological assets. SARAT engages in many different education and research-related activities in line with this goal. 
The SARAT project is being overseen by the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA).

BIAA is partnered and works together with Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) and with the national branch of the International Council of Museums in the UK (ICOM UK) in the conduct of this project.

The SARAT project is being supported by the Cultural Protection Fund* (CPL-O69-16). The fund is managed by the British Council in partnership with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

What are we safeguarding and why?

The Middle Eastern geography in general and Turkey in particular harbour extraordinary material evidence of humanity’s journey towards civilisation. This evidence ranges from the earliest villages and cities to the first states and empires. All of today’s megalopolises, complexities of social life, specialisation through the division of labour, and industrial and technological capabilities are the products of a step-by-step process of filtering and handing down the achievements of previous civilisations. The first plough, the first wheel-made pottery, the first inscribed clay tablet, and the first minted coin were all among the landmarks of this amazing adventure of humanity that reached to the digital age of the 21st century. 

Sometimes however it may be hard to realise what stone, earth, and mudbrick are telling us about how we arrived at today’s megalopolises from prehistoric villages like the one at Çayönü and the earliest temples like the one at Göbeklitepe. Over the millennia, the archaeological heritage of all humanity has suffered: sometimes from natural disasters and from treasure-hunters and looters, sometimes from the spread of cities and farming, and sometimes from just lack of interest. To many people nowadays, antiquities are just “merchandise” and archaeological sites are just “boring ruins”.

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