The Department of Archaeology hosted an international conference on Water Supply and Water Management in the Metal Ages from October 13 to October 16. The event, organized by Dr. Dirk Brandherm from Belfast University as president of the UISPP Metal Ages Commission and coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Zimmermann as its Corresponding Member, brought together a diverse group of distinguished scholars from the US, Spain, Tunisia, Northern Ireland, Italy, France, Hungary and Iran. The conference gave scholars the opportunity to report on their recent research pertaining to water ecology in pre- and early historic times, as well as discuss current scientific applications in inorganic material studies.
The keynote lecture, delivered by Prof. Luis Benítez de Lugo Enrich from Complutense University in Madrid, took the audience to the Western Mediterranean shores, where the prehistoric Motilla culture excelled in fabulous engineering efforts to counteract water shortages during a climate crisis 4,000 years ago.
In their inaugural address, Rector Kürşat Aydoğan highlighted the constant need for vivid academic exchange with an academic anecdote: “the questions remain the same, however the answers come in different all the time.” The Chair of the Department of Archaeology, Prof. Dominique Kassab-Tezgör, stressed the value of coming together again in person after Covid-related obstructions and restrictions in the past two years. Assoc. Prof. Thomas Zimmermann praised “the beauty of fostering new networks and refreshing old ones at a time where international cooperation is more needed than ever,” together with “exploring new educational and work possibilities for our students, to bring closer together specialists from the Western Mediterranean with experts from its Eastern shores.”
The latter is already materializing through a generous grant, which has been offered to Bilkent Archaeology students interested in participating in the Motilla culture excavations in Spain this coming year.
The conference concluded with a visit to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and a field trip to the Hittite hilltop site Gavurkalesi, followed by a tour of the Phrygian capital Gordion-Yassıhöyük. All excursions were led by Dr. Zimmermann.