Quake damage on cultural heritage under control

Quake damage on cultural heritage under control

Quake damage on cultural heritage under control

While the recent earthquakes in Türkiye’s south caused damage to the upper roof cover of the Arslantepe archaeological site in Malatya and the mudbrick walls fell apart, there has been no complete physical destruction in the museums located in the quake-hit provinces, according to a statement made by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Arslantepe Mound, on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List, has been undergoing archaeological works since 1932. Dating back to the Late Chalcolithic Period to the Iron Age, the ancient mound hosted many civilizations -- from the Hittites to Rome and Byzantium.

Lion statues and overturned king statue at the entrance, the world’s first rain drainage line, a mudbrick palace, and more than 2,000 seals of the first city-state in Anatolia have been unearthed in the ancient site during the excavations.

Yahya Coşkun, the general manager of the Cultural Heritage and Museums of Culture and Tourism Ministry, said that 29 museums in the provinces sustained minor damages during the Kahramanmaraş earthquakes but that there was no complete physical destruction.

Stating that the emergency action plan of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums was successfully implemented after the earthquakes, Coşkun said, “The museums in the earthquake zone have sister museums in different provinces. As soon as the earthquake occurred, all our friends knew where to go. Security officers, museum experts and managers in sister museums went to the museums in the quake-hit provinces early in the morning on the next day. After ensuring the safety of the artworks in the museums, we immediately started damage assessment works. On the first day of the earthquake, we completed the work in all our museums.”

Coşku said there was damage only in a block of the Hatay Museum, adding: “Except this, there is no general physical damage in museums. There are small damages to plasters and coatings. We are ready to open the museums as not even a single artifact got damaged. There is no single damage to the mosaics in the world’s largest mosaic museum, the
Hatay Archaeology Museum and Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum.”

Yahya said that they had finished the restoration of the damaged artifacts in the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum and that work continues in the Hatay Archaeology Museum.

“First of all, the materials needed for restoration are provided and then the restorer starts working. We will complete the restoration of some small artifacts in a very short time,” he said.

Coşkun also added that the ministry prepared a special support package with both financial and technical support in the construction, revival, restoration, or reconstruction of all registered cultural assets, irrespective of whether it is affiliated with the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

“More than 500 people working for the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums continue their detailed examinations. We are about to complete the process in many of the quake-hit provinces. We document all of them, even if it is less or medium damaged. We will reuse even a single demolished rubble stone of all registered cultural assets,” he said

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