Should I stay or should I go? Ideals and realities of archaeology in the conflict regions.
Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage
Apaydin, Veysel, and Hassett, Brenna
Month of Publication
Year of Publication
Web Address (URL)
Taylor and Francis Online
Through the Ilısu Dam Rescue Archaeology Project, we explore ethical and practical aspects of rescue archaeology in contested territory and areas of conflict, at the mound sites of Başur Höyük and Çattepe in Siirt Province, Turkey. We are excavating the sites ahead of the Ilısu Dam’s construction, a controversial project that the state supports but that others contest. One of the most important characteristics of these heritage sites is their significance for local community identity construction. These places have also witnessed conflict between the state and Kurdish separatists. The project is administered under overlapping hierarchies, which may have different, even competing interests. These manifest in conflicts between ‘top-down’ approaches to rescue archaeology, and an effective public engagement strategy. We discuss how the project can be a positive force, given the impending destruction through dam construction and the location in the middle of an armed conflict; and when it cannot.
RPA Codes & Standards
- Archaeologist's Responsibility to Colleagues, Employees, and Students
- Archaeologist's Responsibility to Employers and Clients
- Archaeologist's Responsibility to the Public
- Procedures for Field Survey or Excavation
Keywords & Terms
- Adequate and Responsible Reporting, Publication, and Dissemination
- Adequate Preparation
- Armed Conflict and Violence
- Consultation/Partnership with Affected Groups
- Impact on Communities - Local, Descendant, etc.