Netherlands Institute helps Turkish archeology

Fokke Geritsen is a scientist. He is an archaeologist at the Netherlands Institute of Turkey (NIT) in Istanbul.

Netherlands Institute helps Turkish archeology

He is engaged in digs not in the Netherlands but in Turkey, which he describes as "a history treasure."

Geritsen has served as director of NIT since January 2006. We spoke with the Dutch archaeologist and assessed NIT.

How long have you been in Turkey and what projects have you participated in?

I've been interested in Turkey since 1994. My interest began as a student and has continued as an archaeologist, and since January 2006 I have been director of this institute. I have participated in several projects. I participated in the digging of a fourth-century Mesopotamian business center at Hacinebi Tepe in Þanlýurfa, a sixth-century settlement in the Tel Kurdu dig, and in regional research of the Amik Plain in Hatay. In 2007, I hope the Culture and Tourism Minister Cultural Assets and Museum Directors will grant me approval to head the digs at Barçýn Höyük, which is part of the 20-year Marmara "Early Age" agriculture project.

What is your assessment of Turkey as an archaeologist?

Turkey is a rich and exciting place for an archaeologist. But the excitement is not caused from what you might expect. As an archaeologist, I hear statements like "There is history revealed in every place you dig; it must be wonderful to work there." But for me the fact that every period of civilization is researched in Anatolia is more exciting than the number of years or quantity of history revealed. We can follow the transfer from hunting to wandering, from the Hittites to the Urartus, from the early age settlement to the formation of empires. From this aspect, Turkey is a wonderful place.

As you know, every year many people from the Netherlands visit Turkey. Do you think they acquire adequate knowledge about Turkey's archaeological past by the time they leave? Do you have any plans as an organization in this regard?

Many Dutch people do not learn about Turkey's rich archaeological past. Many visitors come for this reason. Trying to push them in that way would be unnecessary. As an organization, our purpose is different. We should want Dutch and other researchers to study more than just the archaeological works of Turkey. We want to show important works done in other areas. If we can increase the scientific collaboration between Turkey and other countries and implement exchange programs, then tourists will come to Turkey not only for its coastlines but also because of its rich archaeological past.

How would you evaluate the interest of the Turkish public, especially the younger generation, in archaeology?

Well, I think there is a large number of good students and researchers. In fact, there are students and academics who participate in international platforms. When compared to Dutch students, I see Turkish youth to have more interest and potential for development. However, there are students who study archaeology because they were unable to score higher points on the university entrance exams (ÖSS) but do not have interest in archaeology at all. Although there is a lot of work to be done in archaeology, unfortunately in Turkey there aren't many job opportunities for archaeologists.

Why was NIT established?

NIT was founded in 1958 as the Netherlands Institute of History and Archaeology. It aimed to serve as a platform for Dutch researchers who were interested in the Anatolian and Near Eastern region. It introduced the studies of archaeobotany and palenology. Our current goal is to contribute to the international collaboration of cultural and historical works, especially in archaeology, history and art.

 

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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