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x0x From ancient history to ecological efficiency: one decision, two results

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    [See more at: http://archaeology.about.com/od/kterms/qt/kerkenes.htm and http://www.kerkenes.metu.edu.tr/index.html ] x0x From ancient history to ecological
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 25, 2008
      [See more at:
      http://archaeology.about.com/od/kterms/qt/kerkenes.htm and
      http://www.kerkenes.metu.edu.tr/index.html ]

      x0x From ancient history to ecological efficiency:
      one decision, two results

      Friday, October 24, 2008

      The Kerkenes Project has been carried out to uncover
      the history of the ancient city situated on top of
      Mount Kerkenes in the central Anatolian city of Yozgat.
      The latest discoveries in the region have gone on
      display in the Kerkenes Room of Yozgat Museum


      YOZGAT - Turkish Daily News

      A couple with two children and a car with a steering
      wheel on the right is how British archaeologist
      Geoffrey Summers described himself and his family at
      the beginning of their journey through history, which
      started in the central province of Yozgat.

      What brought them to the heart of the country is
      Kerkenes, an Iron Age capital that was presumably
      founded in the late seventh century B.C. and later
      dissolved into ashes.

      Summers and his wife, Francoise, are both instructors
      at Middle East Technical University, or METU, and
      directors of the Kerkenes Project, which began in 1993.
      When the mystery of this ancient city attracted
      Summers, who is interested in Anatolian civilizations,
      his wife had to follow him, as she described it,
      during a panel held last weekend.

      I am often thought of as an archeologist. In spite
      of all the archeological works I have done with my
      husband, I am an architect, she said. That is why she
      decided to pursue research relevant to her own field of
      study when she was also included in the project. She
      pioneered the establishment of an eco-center in the
      Sahmuratli village of Yozgat, where Mount Kerkenes is

      Thus, one decision by Geoffrey Summers paved the way
      for two different stories. While the Kerkenes Mount
      Project started to yield results by unearthing
      artifacts of ancient civilizations, the Kerkenes
      Eco-Center Project created a kind of magical world
      inside the small village, where jams are cooked on
      solar cookers and bottles are used for roof

      Lost city' lies in silence

      The Kerkenes Project was conducted to reveal the
      history of the ancient city that is situated on the top
      of the Kerkenes Mountain. As a result of the
      discoveries, they uncovered is the ancient city Pteria
      of Herodotus, which was thought to be lost.

      A 2004 report on the excavations strengthened the
      hypothesis they had uncovered the famous lost city
      since the artifacts found in the region are peculiar to
      the Phrygian culture. According to Greek historian
      Herodotus, the Battle of Pteria between the Lydians and
      Cyrus the Great of Persia led the city to destruction.

      This great city was sacked, the seven kilometer
      defensive wall was destroyed and the city was
      abandoned, Summers said.

      Indeed the region that is thought to be Pteria is
      covered with silence at present and there is nothing
      except the remnants of the walls in sight. As Von der
      Osten, who drew a map of the city defenses in 1928,
      wrote: The great expanse of ruins, once teeming with
      life and resounding with the voices of a powerful
      people who dominated most of Asia Minor, now lies mute
      and barren.

      The Kerkenes excavations have been conducted by the
      British Institute of Archeology and METU.

      Archeological findings create Kerkenes Room'

      The latest discoveries in the region opened for
      exhibition in the Kerkenes Room of Yozgat Museum late

      The opening ceremony for the exhibition included the
      participation of the British, Canadian and Australian
      ambassadors to Ankara and local officials. While the
      controversial history of the city attracts many people
      from all over the world, Summers stressed the
      importance of Kerkenes both for archeologists and
      Turkish citizens.

      Eco-center an example of local consciousness

      The Kerkenes Eco-Center, which was constructed in
      2002 with the help of the Australian Embassy direct aid
      program, is situated at the foot of the Kerkenes

      Guests who come to visit the ancient city also drop
      in on the eco-center. Those who are captivated by the
      silence of the city can come back to life through the
      liveliness of the center. What first impresses one at
      the eco-center is the natural feel of the equipment,
      buildings and people.

      Everything is simple but useful. For those who have
      grown accustomed to living in a high-tech environment,
      particularly from big cities, the natural course of
      life displayed at the center is a new discovery. The
      center makes use of a huge range of materials, ranging
      from wastepaper to tires, and uses everything

      The goals of the eco-center are to advocate the use
      of renewable sources of energy, to act as a stimulus
      and a catalyst for environment-friendly building with
      appropriate materials, to act as a dynamic experimental
      base for testing designs, materials and activities
      suitable for sustainable village life, and to encourage
      village development, Francoise Summers said.

      The project has been supported by many institutions,
      including the Australian, U.S. and Canadian embassies,
      and many others.

      A new source of income for villagers

      Besides saving energy and supplying more economical
      way of living, the project is also beneficial for the
      women of Sahmuratli village. Stressing the social
      aspect of the project, Francoise Summers said through
      the eco-center the women get a chance to earn money.

      Some women complained to us that their husbands did
      not give money to them. Now, they can get some money
      through working at the eco-center, she noted.

      Female villagers especially benefit from solar
      cookers and solar driers for fruit and vegetables.
      While they boil jam, which is a very long process, on
      the solar cookers, they also contribute to their family

      We always have guests here, so we can sell our
      products to them. Besides, the center presents a
      different atmosphere for us; we can get away from the
      monotonousness of home here, one of the women working
      at the eco-center, 52, said.

      The income from the products is given to the
      Sahmuratli Village Association, in hopes of turning
      their products into a brand and reaching national

      Houses made of hay bales

      Buildings made of hay bales that are later covered
      with plaster are another striking design idea. These
      straw houses, which were financially supported by the
      Canadian Embassy, have a distinctive feature: They
      neither become very hot in summer nor very cold in
      winter. The eco-center also includes a greenhouse,
      organic agriculture field and products to help with
      water efficiency.

      The project first started with the Think globally,
      act locally philosophy. Now, if this application
      spreads to other villages as well, the villages may
      turn into magnets that contribute to the local economy,
      and bring people who migrated to big cities due to
      unemployment back.

      These two projects the Kerkenes Eco-Center and the
      Kerkenes Excavations complete each other. While the
      village gains commercial viability through Kerkenes
      visitors, the visitors supply their basic needs at the
      eco-center and observe its interesting structures and
      designs. METU will host a fair in December to introduce
      the products of the eco-center.
      Copyright 2008, Turkish Daily News. This article
      is redistributed with permission for personal use
      of TurkC-L readers. No part of this article may be
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      without the prior permission of the publisher.
      Contact: Turkish Daily News Online on the Internet
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