Struggle against weed continues in Alacahöyük
The 2021 season excavations at the Alacahöyük ancient site, where the first archaeological excavations of the Turkish Republic were carried out, will be resumed after the completion of the weed control that has been continuing since July 3.
The first excavations in Alacahöyük Village, located in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum, started in 1935 with the instructions of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, who contributed from his personal budget.
So far, local and foreign researchers from different disciplines have worked in excavations over time, unearthing significant traces of the Hittite civilization as well as the ancient Anatolian cultural history.
After the death of the former head of the excavations, Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu, the archaeological excavations were interrupted in the ancient settlement in previous years. Later in 2020, the works were carried out under the chairmanship of Ankara University’s Near East Archaeology Lecturer Professor Tayfun Yıldırım.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Yıldırım said that the archaeological excavation season in Alacahöyük started on July 3 but that they could not start the excavations because of the weed cleaning works.
Yıldırım stated that before the archaeological excavations started in all the ruins in Anatolia, it is necessary to clean the weeds, adding. “Since this is an open area, we have to fight weed every year. When we first came here last year, we found that the entire mound was covered with weed. We started weed control studies according to the program proposed by agricultural engineers. Then, there were some places that needed to be repaired and rearranged due to natural conditions, along with ruins that were destroyed by the effect of nature. We have restored these places in accordance with their original.”
Yıldırım stated that despite disinfestation efforts at the beginning of the season, they could not get full results in some areas. “We are continuing our weed struggle intensively,” he said.
Explaining that they will start excavation, geophysics and restoration work after the site is cleared of weeds, Yıldırım said: “The ruins need care every year. In particular, archaeologists have to show and inform visitors about the architectural remains they have unearthed and restored in accordance with their original form. However, winter conditions are sometimes harsh. As a result, there may be some deterioration in the mounds, especially in deep excavation areas and architectural remains in open areas. On the other hand, although there are many warnings and information boards, from time to time, the foundation stones or walls may be damaged because visitors step on the architectural remains to take photos.”
“However, one of the biggest problems is weed control. We struggle to remove the grass, especially on the most important walking route of the mound. This takes a lot of time for the excavation team and has a serious financial cost. But we have to do this for visitors,” he added.
Noting that Alacahöyük is one of the touristic areas that attract the most visitors in the Central Black Sea region, Yıldırım said that it was a historical site where tourists can visit, while archaeological excavations were being carried out.
He also said that projects were implemented to offer an “archeopark” to people.