Spray paint on ancient rocks elicits reaction
BODRUM - Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoA group of travelers who spray-painted their names on rocks in the vicinity of 8,000-year-old paintings on Beşparmak (Latmos) mountain near Lake Bafa have aroused anger from archaeologists and historians over the damage to the ancient site.
“They shared it on Facebook. They say ‘we leave our trace everywhere.’ God damn your traces!” said Former Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum Director and archaeologist Ayşe Temiz in a statement criticizing the vandalism. “This is shame; I can’t call it ignorance because most of the people in the group are educated people. This is no different from the Stone Age mind.”
The İzmir-based Assos Nature Travelers Group organized a two-day history and culture trip to Lake Bafa, which is between Aydın and Muğla, two weeks ago with the participation of 40 travelers.
Using spray paint, some of the travelers wrote the name of their group on the rocks, which feature 8,000-year-old rock paintings, before sharing photos of the deed on social media. Because of the reactions from history and nature aficionados and archaeologists, the travelers have removed the photos and videos from their social media accounts.
Temiz said that while they were protecting Lake Bafa and its surrounding against mine pits and ignorance, the group had damaged the historic rocks with red spray paint.
“Beşparmak Mountain, which was known as Latmos in the ancient era, is home to rock paintings which are very unique in terms of the language of painting. Latmos has been a sacred mountain since the earliest ages. The god of storms was blessed on top of this mountain. This place also served as the center of rain and fertility. Despite socio-cultural changes, this mission continued until the Ottoman era,” Temiz said.
“Since 1994, a German Archaeology Institute archaeologist, Anneliese Peschlow, has found many historical findings here. The number of paintings found so far is more than 170. As the research continues, more will be discovered. Peschlow has been working for the region to be taken under protection as an archaeological site and defined as a national park. The rock paintings date back 8,000 years. Lots of human figures on Latmos rock paintings reflected the ceremonies of fertility or weddings,” she said.
Apology from group’s founder
The Assos Nature Travelers Group’s founder and spokesman, Gökhan Çapkın, said they had realized the situation after the end of the trip.
“Some people in group painted the rocks. This is unforgettable. We had the same reaction, and I called on our friends there to remove the paint. We cannot approve such a mistake. We apologize to archaeologist and history lovers who showed their reaction. We don’t want to be known as a group that damages history and nature because this is not the way we are. We organize trips to promote and protect the values in the region. As their group leader, it is our mission to intervene against such people, but we failed to see it because it is a large area,” he said.