European archaeologists gather in Istanbul for symposium

European archaeologists gather in Istanbul for symposium

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
European archaeologists gather in Istanbul for symposium

EAA President Professor Friedrich Lüth speaks during the event, Sept. 10. AA Photo

The 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) is currently being held in Istanbul. The event is the first large-scale international meeting held in Turkey on cultural heritage and archaeology.  

The opening of the meeting took place on Sept. 10 at the Hilton Convention Center with the attendance of Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik.

Çelik said the science of archaeology aimed to shed light on the history of mankind, and archaeological works in Turkey revealed to the world that Anatolia was the cradle of civilization.

He said archaeological works had been ongoing in Anatolia since the 1930s, with excavations, restorations and surface surveys carried out by academics from Turkey and across the world.

“Nearly 60 foreign and over 200 Turkish academics are currently carrying archaeological excavations and studies in various parts of Anatolia. Last year, the ministry provided financial support of 43 million Turkish Liras for these works. Archaeological excavations are not an option but an obligation for countries that want to play a role in the shaping of the future. Today, Turkey is like an open air museum with 388 museums and 136 ancient sites that are open to visitors,” Çelik added.

“We believe that cultural heritage is the common value of all humanity. Just like Mustafa Kemal Atatürk said, we believe that culture is the basis of republic,” he said.

Çelik also said his ministry was still working for the return of artifacts smuggled abroad, and asked for the support of the participants in the meeting for their return.

“Each cultural artefact has its special meaning when it is in its own land. We ask you to understand and support us,” he said.

EAA President Professor Friedrich Lüth expressed his pleasure to organize the 20th annual meeting in Istanbul and reminded that Istanbul was one of the oldest capitals in the world.

“It is a very big responsibility for the minister [Çelik] to handle such a rich cultural heritage. Turkey has an unbelievable cultural heritage,” Lüth said.

The vice president of the congress, Professor Turgut Saner of Istanbul Technical University’s Faculty of Architecture, said Turkey has always had connections with the EAA. Saner said Istanbul hosted some of the most important archaeological works in modern history and described the city as “an archaeology capital.”  

The 2014 Istanbul meeting of the EAA is said to be the most extensive archaeology meeting held in Europe since 1979 UISPP congress in Nice, with 3,500 presentations.

The meeting will continue until Sept. 14 at Istanbul Technical University’s Taşkışla Campus, with the attendance of hundreds of academics from 74 countries. There will be 45 parallel sessions, nearly 2,000 presentations and 12 exhibitions in the meeting.

There will be also number of round tables organized by various international institutions.