Izmir Region Excavations and Research Project (IRERP) of Ankara University Mustafa V. Koç Research Center for Maritime Archaeology ANKÜSAM aims to raise interest and awareness of maritime archaeology in Turkey as well as to develop and to help putting national and international policies into practice in this field. Education is one of the top priorities of the center along with scientific research.
The Initiative carries out archaeological excavations both on land and underwater and promotes investigations of coastal archaeological sites with an interdiciplinary approach. Liman Tepe land and underwater excavations also serve as a field school for the students of archaeology. Underwater excavations uncover submerged harbour structures, which is unique in Turkey, belongs 6th and 4th century BC. Many students of archaeology are being trained through this work and are being acquainted to excavation, documentation, conservation and to the study of archaeological heritage on land as well as underwater. Conservators work at the lab during most of the year on archaeological material originating from land excavations as well as waterlogged material from underwater excavations of the center at Liman Tepe.
ANKÜSAM organizes special underwater archaeology training courses for the staff of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey almost every year. Archaeologists working at the ministry, by attending these courses, gain firsthand practice in studying, documenting and protecting submerged cultural heritage. At a later stage, they also get a chance to be government representatives in archaeological projects that involve underwater research.
ANKÜSAM also collaborates in experimental archaeology projects with 360 degrees research group. Through this collaboration, “Re-animation of Early Cycladic Long Boats” project, funded by Ankara University, resulted in the re-creation of an Early Bronze Age Cycladic boat which was put on display in an international exhibition in İstanbul, initiating a public awareness of prehistoric maritime archaeology.
İzmir Region Excavations and Research Project (IRERP) initiates a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary scientific work and involves international participation in every level to ensure that an internationally diverse range of experience and knowledge conjoins to create best practice in a comprehensive regional archaeological research project.
Participation at IRERP’s archaeological activities in Urla is a great way of training future archaeologists who will be leading scholars in their countries in the future. These activities also transformed Urla into a well-known center for underwater archaeological research in Turkey.
The project has successfully initiated public awareness, and through its various activities continues to offer a chance for the locals to get a first-hand experience and knowledge of the methods and techniques that scientists use to understand and protect our past.