The History of Archaeology from
the Ottoman Empire to the Republic

Sessions, Moderators and Speakers

Salt Galata

Moderator: Nora Şeni, Professor of Urbanism, French Archaeological Institute of İstanbul

Nora Şeni is the Director of the French Archaeological Institute in İstanbul since 2008. After studying economics in France, she began teaching at the Urbanism Department of the Université Paris VIII. Her dissertation was published under the title Emperyalist Sistemde Kontrol Sanayii [The Control Industry in the Colonial System](Birikim Yayınları, 1978). Her fields of interest include history, urban history and anthropology. She is the author of Marie ve Marie – Konstantiniye’de Bir Mevsim 1856-1858 (Métropolis, 1998; İletişim, 1999); Camondolar-Bir Hanedanın Çöküşü [with Sophie Le Tarnec] (Actes Sud, 1997; İletişim, 2000; Kitap Yayınevi 2010); Seni Unutursam İstanbul… (Kitap Yayınevi, 2008); Oryantalizm ve Hayırseverliğin İttifakı (La Martinière, 2005; YKY, 2009); Naissance du ”devoir d’ingérence.” Le voyage d’Adolphe Crémieux en Égypte 1840 (ISIS, 2011) and İstanbul’da Özel Kültür Politikaları ve Kentsel Alan (Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları-Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı, 2011). Şeni is still producing documentaries.

“The Poetics of Ruins versus Anastylosis: Archaeology and Aesthetics”
Speaker: Sophie Basch, Professor of French Literature, University of Sorbonne-Paris (Paris IV)

Similar to Greece, the restorations made in Turkey are based on the principles of restoration mentioned in the Venetian Charter of 1964. However this wish of anastylosis -a new form of violence, which holds the threat of transforming most of the sites into theme parks- witnessed the divorce between science and aesthetic sensibility. Based on the archaeological and literary texts of George Perrot who made excavations on the Augustus Temple in Ankara, this paper will question this new way of ignorance.

Sophie Basch is Professor of French Literature at the Sorbonne–Paris University (Paris IV). Her published works include Le Mirage grec (1995) and Les Sublimes Portes: D’Alexandrie à Venise, parcours dans l’Orient romanesque (2004). She has edited King Leopold II of Belgium’s Voyage à Constantinople en 1860 (1997); a critical edition of Gaston Maspéro’s Ruines et paysages d’Égypte (2000); Le Voyage en Grèce, 1934–1939, with Alexandre Farnoux (2006); Pitres et Pantins: Transformations du masque comique, de l’Antiquité au théâtre d’ombres, with Pierre Chuvin (2007); Alexandria ad Europam, with Jean-Yves Empereur (2007); Les Frères Reinach, with Michel Espagne (2008); Alphonse de Lamartine’s Souvenirs, impressions, pensées et paysages pendant un Voyage en Orient (1832–1833); Notes d’un voyageur (2011); and an edition of the speeches of Lamartine on the Eastern Question, with Henry Laurens (in preparation). She organized the colloquium La Métamorphose des ruines: L’influence des découvertes archéologiques sur les arts et les lettres, 1870–1914 at the École Française d’Athènes in 2004.

“The Lens of Archaeology: Photographic Explorations of Ottoman Antiquity in the 19th (and early 20th) century”
Speaker: Frederick Bohrer, Professor of Art and Archaeology, Hood College

This talk will be devoted to some early examples of archaeological photography and its circulation in books, albums and magazines. It will be particularly attuned to two themes: First, how the photographic medium fit the goals of early archaeological and antiquarian investigators, and second, what motivations were involved in the circulation of photographic material. Throughout, it will be concerned not only with what photography illustrated for archaeologists, but what it occluded, or left out entirely.

Frederick Bohrer is professor of Art and Archaeology at Hood College. He received his doctoral degree from the History of Art at the University of Chicago with his dissertation titled “A New Antiquity: The English Reception of Assyria” in 1989. Aside from his book Orientalism and Visual Culture: Imagining Mesopotamia in Nineteenth-Century Europe, he recently published Photography and Archaeology, which is a selective, critical exploration of the historical, functional and theoretical relations of archaeology and photography from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

Moderator: Felix Pirson, Professor of Archaeology, German Archaeological Institute, İstanbul

Felix Pirson studied Classical Archaeology, Ancient History and Art History at Bonn, Cologne, Munich and Cambridge. He completed his PhD on domestic architecture of the Vesuvian cities at Munich University in 1996. After appointments at the DAI Rome and Cottbus Technical University, he became Assistant Professor at the Institute of Classical Archaeology at Leipzig University in 2000, where he passed his postdoctoral lecture qualification in 2005 with a thesis on images of battle and combat in ancient art. Since 2006, he acts as the First Director of DAI İstanbul branch and head of the Pergamon Excavation. In 2010, he was appointed Honorary Professor at Leipzig University. His main research topics are ancient urbanism, Pergamon, the archaeology of the Vesuvian cities and images of war and violence.

“Ottoman Bureaucracy’s Tightening Grip: The Activities of Hormuzd Rassam and the Division of Spoils in the 1880s”
Speaker: Gül Pulhan, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Koç University

The mentalities and mechanisms that emerged during the last quarter of the 19th century still have an impact on today’s Turkey archaeological studies. In addition to the excavation permissions, issues and concerns such as the supervision of excavations, the function of excavation control agents, the share of antiquities and the delivery of antiquities to the Imperial Museum can be traced through the registers of the bureaucracy. The correspondence between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the province of Mosul and the governorate of Bagdad as well as a table showing the share of antiquities related to Hormuzd Rassam’s excavations between 1877 and 1883 conducted on Ottoman lands on behalf of the British Museum, give us important clues on archaeological preferences of the Ottoman State.

Gül Pulhan received her BA in History from Bosphorus University, MA in Protohistory and Near Eastern Archaeology from İstanbul University and M.Phil and PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology from Yale University. Her dissertation titled “On the Eve of the Dark Age: Qarni-Lim’s Palace in Tell Leilan, Syria” is a functional and historical analysis of an Old Babylonian Palace. She is Assistant Professor at the Department of Archaeology and History of Art and coordinator of the graduate program in Anatolian Civilizations and Cultural Heritage Management. She has lectured and published extensively on the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and represented the cultural heritage issues in the World Tribunal on Iraq. She was among the organizers of an international conference on redefining the concept of cultural heritage and Iraq, titled “A Future for Our Past” held in İstanbul. Since 2009, she has been leading the Gre Amer salvage excavations in Batman in the Ilısu Dam Area. In 2010, Pulhan was elected to the UNESCO National Committee in Turkey. Her research interests center around the Bronze Ages of North Mesopotamia, history and politics of Near Eastern Archaeology, Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage Management.

“History, Archaeology and the Cyprus Archaeological Museum”
Speaker: Suna Güven, Professor of Architectural History, Middle East Technical University

The museum is not merely a place for displaying ancient artifacts; it designs history by arranging the display of recovered objects within temporal and spatial frames. This talk focuses on the Cyprus Archaeological Museum and highlights issues of Cypriot identity in the process of displaying and evaluating archaeological finds from Cyprus.

Suna Güven has been teaching at Middle East Technical University since 1985. The former head of the Graduate Program in Architectural History, she received her BA and MA/PhD degrees from Wellesley College and Cornell University respectively. Her publications focus partıcularly on Roman Architecture.

Moderator: Gül Pulhan, Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Koç University

“The Contribution of Studies on Ancient Settlements and Monuments to the Ancient Historiography of Anatolia”
Speaker: Mustafa H. Sayar, Professor of Ancient History, İstanbul University

Since the second half of the 20th century, the increasing number of books and articles on Anatolian history reveal that the contribution of the research conducted on ancient settlements and monuments in the 19th and 20th centuries was not limited to Anatolian archaeology but also contributed to the historiography of Ancient History. The aforementioned research is based on the excavations of Ancient settlements and on the monuments found among the ruins or on the surface of large geographical areas. In addition to unearthing structures and various everyday objects, artifacts and devotional objects, the studies during this period revealed important written documents which led to the re-questioning of some information that was believed to be true. This presentation will focus on the evolution of the Anatolian archaeological historiography through examples of commentaries on antique inscriptions and assessments of newly found settlements on the Ancient Anatolian geography, which influenced the discourse.

Mustafa H. Sayar, Professor of Ancient History at the İstanbul University, worked at the İstanbul Archaeological Museums between 1979 and 1984. Sayar got his PhD from the University of Vienna on Ancient History with his dissertation on the antique inscriptions and geography of Perinthos, Herakleia in 1989. In addition to the history, geography and settlement archaeology of Thrace and Cilicia, his fields of interest also include the cultural and religious history of ancient cultures and the cultural interactions between the Marmara region, Anatolia and the Near East, on which he published three books and several articles. He is currently member of the National Commission of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and is the director of the Center for South East European Studies affiliated with the Faculty of Letters at the İstanbul University.

“Westernism, Pan-Turkism, Anatolism and Archaeology in the Modernization Process from the Ottoman to Republican Eras”
Speaker: Mehmet Özdoğan, Professor of Prehistory, İstanbul University

In Western Europe, archaeology emerged and developed as a component of positivist thinking. In this respect, archaeology replaced “believed past” with questioned past that has to be verified with concrete evidence, bringing the dimension of time to the traditionally timeless, “flat-past” and systematic arrangement of data. Archaeology in Europe developed into distinct fields, such as Biblical archaeology, classical archaeology, Paleolithic archaeology, national archaeology or anthropological archaeology. Ottomans considered archaeology as an essential component of Westernization; however, in doing so they only took Classical archaeology, which at that time was under the strong impact of Grecism; consequently, Ottoman archaeology had a selective approach to past, disregarding its own heritage. With the foundation of the Turkish Republic, in spite of the controversial trends prevailing during the early period, official policy governing archaeology was “Anatolism”, unselectively embracing the entire past of the land.

Mehmet Özdoğan completed his studies at the İstanbul University, Department of Prehistory where he studied under K. Bittel, R.J. Braidwood and H. Çambel. Since 2010, Özdoğan teaches at the same institution as emeritus professor. Özdoğan’s main focus of interests are the emergence and expansion of early village farming economies, working both in the formation zone of Neolithic cultures as well as in its contact zone with South-Eastern Europe. Since 1964, Özdoğan participated in over 25 excavations and surface surveys all over Turkey, including Çayönü, Mezraa Teleilat, Yarımburgaz and Hoca Çeşme excavations. Current field projects are in Eastern Thrace, at Kırklareli, the main contact zone of Anatolia with Southeastern Europe. Geoarchaeology, history of archaeology and management of cultural heritage are among his other fields of interest. He has published various articles and fourteen books on these subjects.