Archaeological Heritage Places: A Tension Zone In-between Scientific Research and Tourism Based Economic Benefit
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Travels for ‘tracing the past’ have a long history. Besides tracing the past, making archaeological excavations to reveal these traces of past have been on the agenda since the 19th century. Until then, archaeological sites have been the main focus of both the studies to uncover the traces by scientific methods – ‘archeology’, as well as the travels to trace and see the evidences of the past, - ‘cultural tourism’.

For archaeology, disseminating and presenting the information derived from scientific researches and excavations to the public, creating an interest towards this field, and even providing new sources for the sustainability of the scientific researches through such a public interest have always been as important as conducting the scientific researches and excavations and discussing the outcomes in the scientific platform. While for tourism, creating an alternative tourism sector through archaeological sites has always been an important issue. Thereupon, these two fields have been supporting each other in a mutual alliance for a long time. Consequently, in almost all the guiding documents produced through the international meetings on conservation and management of the archaeological heritage, opening the archaeological sites to public visits in a controlled way, presenting them to the public, increasing the interest and consciousness of the public towards these areas have been considered as important topics.

However, today, parallel to the ongoing worldwide debate about the societies’ changing relation with cultural heritage towards a ‘benefit based’ process due to changing political, economic, social and cultural contexts, ‘economic benefit’ provided through cultural heritage is coming more to the fore. As a reflection of this, the balances between ‘tourism’ as a powerful sector providing economic benefit, and ‘archaeology’, as a scientific research field, started to change. Consequently, this leads to the conversion of the previously existing mutual alliance in between these fields to conflicts and tensions.

Similar conflicts and tensions can easily be observed in the archaeological sites in Turkey, due to the differing objectives, approaches and ‘benefits’ of these two different fields as well as the upper scale culture and tourism policies, which are shaped by the changing political, economic, social and cultural contexts. This presentation aims to provide a framework to understand the increasing conflicts and tensions between two different fields having placed around the same focus with different aims, expectations and requests; and departing from this framework, to discuss the impacts of all these conflicts and tensions on the archaeological sites as the focus.

Bio: Dr. A. Güliz Bilgin Altınöz (B.Arch, METU 1991; M.Sc. in Restoration-Architecture, METU 1996; Ph.D. in Restoration-Architecture, METU 2002) is an associate professor in cultural heritage conservation at the Middle East Technical University, Department of Architecture, Graduate Program in Conservation of Cultural Heritage. She is also part-time faculty at the University of Ankara Department of Real Estate Development. She was a visiting researcher at Universita` degli Studi "La Sapienza" Facoltà di Lettere, Dipartimento Scienze Antichità (1994) and at Università degli Studi di Genova, Facoltà di Architettura (1998). She attended advanced certificate programs ARC 94 - Management of Natural and Built Environment (1994) and ARIS 05 - Advanced International Course in Architectural Conservation, Heritage Recording and Information Management (2005) at ICCROM [International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property], Rome, Italy. Her main academic and professional interest areas are conservation theory; multi-layered towns and urban archaeology; conservation, management and planning of historic urban, rural and archaeological landscapes; information management, decision support systems and GIS in heritage conservation. She conducted and took part in various national and international projects, and published articles and book chapters on these subjects. She is a member of ICOMOS-Turkey National Committee.