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Digging politics in the Aegean; The case of Ionia after WWI

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Symposium On Mediterranean Archaeology 2012

Florence, 03.03.2012 – Session 7 – 10.00 p.m.

Thematics: Conservation, preservation and archaeological site management | Restoration and Museology

St. John basilica, Ephesus: One of the projects of the Greek Archaeological Service in Asia Minor (26.07-18.09 1921 | 06.06-20.08 1922)

On May 15, 1919, the Greek army, on the side of the victorious Entente, landed in the area of Smyrna/Izmir, claiming the awarded lands of Asia Minor. The newly composed Greek government in the area had been swift to establish the Greek Archaeological Service of Asia Minor and fund a number of social and cultural activities; among them there was a considerable number of archaeological projects (surveys, excavations, restorations, creation of local museums etc.), aiming to solidify the Greek identity of the local populations.

Even though ‘archaeological projects’ are well known in conflict processes of occupation/liberation warfare, the interlinked Greco-Turkish history contains a number of conspicuous cases of archaeological heritage ‘management’ relating to both Greek and Turkish monuments. This paper, part of an on-going project, is focusing on the Greek archaeological projects in the occupied/liberated land of Ionia, examining practical methods of site management and dialectics employed, in comparison to these that followed the Turkish War of Independence, from the other side.

What is more, it looks at some of the contemporary intersecting networks of practices and ideas concerning archaeology; The use of heritage for formulating national and local identities or attempts to manipulate ‘foreign’ cultural heritage, submit steadily nowadays, to contemporary uses of tourist destinations that accommodate a great number of international tourists, unaware of the thick palimpsest of relations and contested history. Could this be a post-modern pattern of ameliorating trauma or could places like Ephesus and Nysa form the basis of more nuanced interpretations based on archaeology, that may actually commence a dialogue, from a cultural point of view?

Stelios Lekakis, MA, PhD c.

Archaeologist / ARM Consultant

Σχόλιο για τη διαχείριση της νεότερης -προβιομηχανικής- κληρονομιάς στα νησιά του Αιγαίου

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Σε αυτό το κείμενο αποτυπώνονται κάποιες σκέψεις σχετικά με τη διαχείριση νεοτέρων μνημείων της προβιομηχανικής κληρονομιάς με αφορμή τη συμμετοχή μου στο πρόγραμμα της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας Περιβάλλοντος & Πολιτισμού που πραγματοποιήθηκε στην Αμοργό πριν από δυο χρόνια. Οι περισσότερες φωτογραφίες τραβήχτηκαν κατά τη διάρκεια της εθνογραφικής έρευνας που έγινε για το εν λόγω πρόγραμμα με τους συναδέλφους Νότα Πάντζου και Δημήτρη Παπαδόπουλο. Μια άλλη εκδοχή αυτού του άρθρου συγγράφηκε με την υπεύθυνη του έργου Κατερίνα Χατζηκωνσταντίνου, και θα κυκλοφορήσει τον επόμενο μήνα στο βιβλιαράκι της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας με τίτλο: Διαδρομές Νερού.

Ανεμόμυλοι, νερόμυλοι, πατητήρια, ασβεστοκάμινα, αλώνια, στέρνες, κρήνες, μονοπάτια, γεφύρια, δίκτυα υποδομών, κοινοτικά κτίσματα για συλλογική χρήση ή τμηματα της ακίνητης οικιακής σκευής είναι τα κατάλοιπα της προβιομηχανικής κληρονομιάς, που κατακλύζουν το νησιωτικό τοπίο και τεκμηριώνουν υλικά όχι και τόσο μακρινές εποχές, που όμως χάνονται δίχως ίχνη.

Η ανώνυμη, λαϊκή, χρηστική αρχιτεκτονική αυτού του τύπου, πολλές φορές με πλήθος πολιτισμικών προεκτάσεων και άϋλων αξιών, σχετίζεται με τον πρωτογενή τομέα της παραγωγής, που συρρικνώνεται εντατικά από τον ηλιοτροπικό τριτογενή της παροχής υπηρεσιών αλλά και τις επιπτώσεις του στον περιορισμό των χρήσεων και της έκτασης της νησιωτικής γης, με την εντατική οικοδομική δραστηριότητα. Προσθέτοντας σε αυτά, την αιμορραγία ανθρώπινου δυναμικού στα αστικά κέντρα εσωτερικού και εξωτερικού μετά το δεύτερο παγκόσμιο πόλεμο, την πρόοδο της τεχνολογίας και τον εκμοντερνισμό της παραγωγής, ανακαλύπτουμε κάποιους από τους λόγους της εγκατάλειψης και αποψίλωσης των μνημείων αυτών, τα οποία σήμερα προβάλλονται συστηματικά σαν ρομαντικές carte-postales του ‘νησιωτικού χρώματος’.

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Development, meta-development & Culture. Exploring the economics of heritage management and alternative ways forward

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Development, meta-development & Culture. Exploring the economics of heritage management and alternative ways forward

 

Is heritage management driven by the laws of the market and which is its role in the panacea-proposal of sustainable development?

These are some of the questions that will be explored in this seminar, along with alternative ways of dealing with heritage and culture in our post-modern world, seen through the capitalistic lenses of monetary value.

 

 

Date: Tuesday 14.12.10

Place: Institute of Archaeology, UCL, 6th floor

Time: 14.00-16.00

All welcome!

Written by Stelios Lekakis

December 12, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Posted in papers

Public Archaeology in the Cyclades

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Heritage Studies Research Group

And

The Centre for Applied Archaeology

Public archaeology in the Cyclades

Kouros, Melanes

Researching the bonds between local communities and “their” archaeological heritage, on the island of Naxos, Greece.

Stelios Lekakis

Monday May 4th, 5-6 pm

Rm 612

Reception afterwards in the Staff Common Room

Public archaeology in the Cyclades

Researching the bonds between local communities and “their” archaeological heritage on the island of Naxos, Cyclades.

The increasing mobility of people and the globalisation of communications and tourism, the loss of the traditional, the increasing politicisation of archaeology and the calls for ethics in the field pose numerous questions for what is generally termed “public archaeology”, i.e. non-specialist engagement with archaeology.

This lecture will examine some of these issues as seen in the insular environment of a Cycladic island. A programme and methodology have been developed in order to research, approach, understand, raise awareness and involve ‘the public’, in issues of archaeological heritage management, participatory planning, integrating archaeological projects in local communities, looting, et al.

Even though the research is still ongoing, some interesting results have already come out of our work, including the discovery of a variety  of local approaches to interpreting archaeology, a growing understanding of how perceptions have changed over the years, and especially, really significant attendance at public meetings, with particular interest raised by the subject of looting. From this, we are already producing usable data for both project planning, and guidelines for how to work with local communities.

This is such a new field in Greece that what we learn here presents an opportunity to contribute to the development of public archaeology in the country as a whole. But is that a realistic vision? The lecture will look finally at this project in the wider context of heritage management in Greece: is there hope of dialogue, and change?

Written by Stelios Lekakis

May 1, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Posted in papers

Excavating the land of Ionia (1919-1922)

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The Greek-Orthodox church in Nazilli-Turkey was set on fire by the Turkish forces before the advancing Greek army. The base of the altar (seen at the centre of the picture) was part of an inscribed column

The Greek-Orthodox church in Nazilli-Turkey was set on fire by the Turkish arny forces before the advancing Greek army. The base of the altar (seen at the centre of the picture) was part of an ancient inscribed column in second use.

Shortly after the landing of the Greek army in Smyrna/Izmir and while the soldiers were still on the move -giving decisive battles in Anatolia-, Greek archaeologists, endorsed by the (Greek) government of Asia Minor, sought to uncover the primordial past of Ionia, excavating and surveying Klazomenai, Ephesus, Nysa, Mastavra et al. Byzantine, Hellenistic and other antiquities partook in the liberating scheme and the (inwards and outwards) identity establishment project, serving at the same time the vision of the expanded Hellas (Μεγάλη Ιδέα).

This is -more or less- the thematic of the paper that I will be presenting in TAG 2008 – Southampton, later in December. It will be posted here later on, but for the time being here is the abstract together with the link of the session: Archaeologies of Military Occupation

Excavating the bouleuterion in Nysa. In the front view, the workers of the excavation (mostly Greeks and Turks convicts from the Smyrna prison).

Excavating the bouleuterion in Nysa. In the front view, possibly the workers of the excavation (Greeks and Turks convicts from the Smyrna prison).

Excavating the ‘occupied’ land of Ionia: Greek excavations in Asia Minor (1919-1922)

Stelios Lekakis (University of Athens)

After the end of WWI, Greece, who was on the side of the victorious Entente, was rewarded with lands in Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor, which had
belonged up until then to the defeated allies of the Central Powers: Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire respectively.

In 1919, the Greek army landed in the area around Smyrna/Izmir in order to ‘protect the Greek-Christian populations from the random attacks of Turkish guerrillas’. The newly created Greek government of Asia Minor organised and funded a number of cultural and social activities in the area in an attempt to solidify Greek identity and establish substructures for the final incorporation of the liberated lands into the Greek state. This paper, part of an on-going project, looks specifically at the archaeological excavations performed by the Greeks in the occupied/liberated land of Ionia and examines a number of multiple and intertwined political, social and scientific issues, such as the role of politicians and military men in the archaeological projects, the connection with archaeological projects in mainland Greece in this period and their role in identity building of the local populations, and the way in which the findings were interpreted by the Greek side. It will also examine the fate of the research and excavations after theTurkish War of Independence.

Excavatin the bouleuterion in Nysa

Excavating the bouleuterion in Nysa

Greek soldiers partaking in the surney and posing in front of the amphitheatre remnants at Mastavra

Greek soldiers partaking in the surney and posing in front of the amphitheatre remnants at Mastavra

Written by Stelios Lekakis

December 3, 2008 at 6:13 pm