27 January 2023 The Future is the Product of the Past

Archaeological excavations started again after 50 years in Tunceli Tozkoparan mound

Archaeological excavations at the Tozkoparan Mound in Turkey’s Tunceli province are anticipated to turn the city into one of eastern Anatolia’s historical tourism hubs, with thousands of years of history waiting to be discovered.

The Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, in collaboration with the Tunceli Museum, has rescued to save Tozkoparan Mound from oblivion. This first-degree protected archaeological site in Tunceli’s Pertek district has been damaged by the building of homes on top of the site as part of the village settlement area.

The ministry has approved the operation, called a “rescue excavation,” in order to safeguard the mound from illicit excavations and local damage. For the first time since 1968, archaeological digs have begun at the site.

The excavation has involved a team of around 15 archaeologists and art historians, and the procedure is being carried out methodically in order to maintain the historical texture. The excavation discoveries, which are being excavated by hand, will be preserved and shown at the Tunceli Museum.

Before the excavations, a ceremony was conducted in the village of Tozkoparan, where Tunceli Governor Mehmet Ali Özkan stated that there were numerous historical relics in Tunceli and that they were working hard to establish naturally protected places for tourists.

A group of archaeologists carries out excavations by hand at the Tozkoparan Mound site in Tunceli, Turkey. (AA Photo)
A group of archaeologists carries out excavations by hand at the Tozkoparan Mound site in Tunceli, Turkey. (AA Photo)

Özkan stated that the excavations at Tozkoparan Mound would prove to be a journey through history.

“Hopefully, with the aspirations and expressions of our friends, this will be an area that will add strength, drive and power to the archeology and history of Tunceli,” Özkan told Anadolu Agency (AA). “I wish my friends success in advance.”

Özkan expressed that Tunceli continued to move toward the future with its historical, touristic and natural wonders. “I hope this excavation will be beneficial,” he said and added: “I wish my friends good luck and at the same time, I hope they will uncover findings and artifacts that will strengthen our archaeological power, our history, as we expect they will.”

Excavations and Tunceli Museum director Kenan Öncel meanwhile said that the excavations had accelerated with the opening of the museum in the city in 2020. Öncel stated that their aim was to gain a better look at the history of Tozkoparan Mound.

“We will evaluate the data we have obtained here with academicians and reveal new details and characteristics about our city,” he said.

“Excavations are also important for us in this respect: This will be the first systematic excavations to be carried out in Tunceli since the Keban Dam Lake rescue excavations in 1968.”

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