The monumental site of Göbekli Tepe in Southern Turkey is the focus of one Global Heritage Fund's largest conservation projects. Below are a few of the latest accomplishments of the project.

Photo: Bruce Henschel, 2012 (CC 2.0)

Shelter

So the archaeological preparatory work for the columns of the shelter for the Enclosures A-D could not be finished this spring. This task is now the main activity of the autumn season during September and October. As the building of the shelter is essential for any conservation work at the Enclosures A-D, and as it became obvious that the planned shelter will be not ready before 2014 because of the delay caused by missing permits for spring campaigns in 2011 and 2012, it is now intended to build a temporary shelter this winter/next spring. This temporary protection will be removed to start with conservation in spring 2013.

Conservation

Conservation of “soft” materials was started by John Hurd, who sampled clay mortar to be used for the stone wall conservation analysis. In October of 2012, John Hurd also plans to build the test walls he needs to find the best “mortar” for the conservation of stone age walls, as the test walls need to have the capacity to protect against possible future vandalism.

Tourist infrastructure

Public buses: Since the summer 2012, the town of Sanliurfa (Urfa) has provided public buses for a regular shuttle service from the center of the town to Göbekli Tepe, which is 22km away.

Road: The asphalt access road to the site, which had been built some years ago, has been renewed and was enlarged in the spring of 2012 by the provincial government.

Visitor Center: The building activities for a visitor center at the gate to the archaeological area started in the middle of September, financed by the state. It is an important step forward to develop an infrastructure for visitors. There will be facilities like a cafeteria, toilets and shops in the Visitor Center.

Lectures in Urfa: The excavation director Klaus Schmidt is giving every year several lectures in Urfa's town hll, to inform the local people about the result of the ongoing excavations.

Photo: Dan Thompson PhD, Global Heritage Fund

Community development

Workmens' children: Members of the conservation team teach every autumn one day at the school in Örencik, to inform the children about basics of archaeology and the excavation at Göbekli Tepe. Then the children are visiting the site and the Museum in Urfa, transported by buses which are provided by the mayor of Urfa. This activity is planned this year for October, when first results of the running campaign can be presented.

Friends of Göbekli Tepe: The “Friends of Göbekli Tepe”, a NGO organization founded last year in Istanbul, is joining the activities of the excavation team in the village of Örencik, where the workmen of the excavation (up to 60 persons) are living. These activities started years ago and will be continued intensively.

 

Security

Guards: The monuments of Göbekli Tepe are in danger not only by the forces of the nature, but also by looting and vandalism. To raise the security of the site, since the end of 2011 one more guard was employed. Thus, in 2012 there are 4 guards responsible for the site of Göbekli Tepe and its on-site conservation facilities.

Fence: Due to the support of the Kaplan Fund it is possible to build a 4.5km long fence around the entire archaeological area. The project will start in October of 2012. It is planned to add 12 cameras at strategically important points.

 

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