Collaborative Indigenous Archaeology In Turkey?: The Sardis Case

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Since the early 1900s, the archaeological site of Sardis in Salihli-Turkey has attracted archaeologists as a rich informational resource on Lydian, Hellenistic, Roman, and Late Antique Anatolia. As excavations continued, archaeologists’ interaction with the local population has based on labor and domestic service exchange. This labor exchange has begun to be questioned as part of archaeological ethics in post-colonial and post-imperial geographies. Through this master’s research, I aimed to understand whether Indigenous collaborative archaeology methodologies could be applied in Turkey. Adapting Indigenous collaborative archaeology in post-imperial contexts like Turkey can provide a more ethical and collaborative framework than traditional forms of local-archaeologist interactions. To assess the applicability of this methodology, I collaborated with the sixth-grade students and the social science teacher of Bahçeşehir College-Salihli Campus School, which is two and a half miles away from Sardis. As part of our partnership, we designed nine informational panels for the archaeological site. The results showed that Indigenous collaborative methodologies have a great potential to make archaeology more locally responsive and ethical in Sardis and in Turkey more generally. This partnership allowed us to establish a reciprocal relationship with the Bahçeşehir School. While I was able to use students' and teachers’ ideas to design visitor-friendly materials, the school has promoted archaeological heritage awareness among its students and encouraged them to participate in extracurricular projects despite the Covid-19 pandemic. In conclusion, traditional outreach methods are still helpful in educating the local public about heritage stewardship; but involving them additionally as research partners helps archaeologists diversify their interactions with local populations in line with the global movement towards archaeological ethics.
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103 pages
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Archaeology Education; Collaborative Archaeology; K-12 Collaboration; Sardis; Turkey; Visitor Programming
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Gleach, Frederic Wright
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Baugher, Sherene Barbara
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M.A., Archaeology
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Master of Arts
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Government Document
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Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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