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Archaeology on the Front Line: Cultural Politics and Archaeological Projects in the Land of Asia Minor (1919-1922)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stelios Lekakis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The project examines the activities conducted by Greek archaeologists in Asia Minor between 1919–1922 and their role in the wider national identity building in South East Europe and Turkey, after World War I. The project entails bibliographical and archival research, compiling information on specific sites in Turkey – the theatres of this particular “conflict” archaeology and heritage management in the early 20th century. The project is a systematic research and compilation of data concerning the activities of the Greek Archaeological Expedition in Asia Minor (1919–1922), its prominent members and their role in the political context, in the midst of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the growing economic interests of several European countries. The main research problems include: 1. Examining why specific sites were chosen for archaeological activities, how were they researched, and what key findings were produced. 2. Investigation of the Greek Archaeological Expedition’s activities in Asia Minor and their relationship to the contemporary heritage projects in Greece and Turkey, including how “classicism” and the “byzantine identity” contributed to nation-building in the early 20th century. 3. Analysation of the relationships between the Greek Archaeological Expedition’s activities and the excavation/movement of antiquities in Asia Minor after World War I by other foreign archaeological schools. 4. Examination of how the antiquities unearthed were aligned to different national narratives, and the extent to which this provides a useful benchmark for the uses and abuses of cultural heritage in the creation of “national consciousness” for the “imagined communities” of South East Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. 5. Consideration of the potential of this case-study of the use of cultural heritage in a turbulent era as a common basis for future projects which promote mutual understanding between Greece and Turkey. 6. Examination of the value of archaeological knowledge created in the mid-20th century as the basis for an inclusive management plans of sites with contested histories such as the ones discussed.7. The project is the last phase of a wider research programme that commenced in 2007 and it culminates in a small book, one hundred years after the landing of the Greek forces in Asia Minor (2019).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lekakis S

Series Editor(s): RCH Digital Library

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: PIXELS@humanities

Year: 2022

Print publication date: 13/12/2022

Online publication date: 13/12/2022

Acceptance date: 01/12/2022

Institution: RCH


DOI: 10.12681/pixelsh.31686