Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) are currently working to establish an archeological park and a research center in Turkey. According to U of T, university archeologists are currently holding talks with Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The archeological park will be established at ell Tayinat site in Amuq Valley, located in southeastern part of the country. This park will help deepen understanding of the Iron Age kingdom that ruled the region several millennia ago.
An interpretation centre within the archeological park will exhibit the cultural heritage of this place. A research and training facility will also be established to preserve and protect the area’s cultural heritage.
“Our goal is to establish a research centre and open air park to highlight Tayinat’s role as a strategic crossroads between the cultures and peoples of the Middle East,” said U of T archeologist Professor Timothy Harrison, who is director of the Tayinat Archaeological Project launched in 1999.
The site ell Tayinat lies at the northern bend of the Orontes River at the intersection between the Anatolian highlands to the north, the Levantine coast to the south, and the lowland steppes of Syria to the east, two kilometers away. Archeologists have unearthed a variety of artifacts, including remains of a temple, a carved stone lion, and a sculpture of 9th-century BCE king Suppiluliuma, from this site. Some of the artifacts are believed to be more than 3,000 years old.
— U of T Arts & Science (@UofTArtSci) October 26, 2018
“The threat of damage and destruction to the cultural heritage of the North Orontes Valley region is high, and has gained increased urgency with the encroachment and intensification of the ongoing Syrian civil war in the neighbouring Idlib and Afrin districts,” said Harrison.
“The aim is to implement a training program that will create an enhanced ability within local communities to conserve and better-protect this cultural legacy – one that belongs to them and gives shape to their identities as communities today.”
Researchers believe that during the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Ages, great imperial powers of Egypt and Mesopotamia saw collapse of their rule.
Chris Cooter, a U of T alumnus who has led Canada’s diplomatic operations in Ankara since 2016 said: “As Ambassador of Canada to Turkey, I welcome the ongoing collaboration between Canadian scholars and Turkey’s Ministry of Culture to protect and promote the cultural heritage of a region just a few kilometers from the conflict in Syria – a country both Turkey and Canada are committed to assist.”