ISSN: 1011-727X
e-ISSN: 2667-5420

Erdal Polat

Van Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Arkeoloji Bölümü, Van/TÜRKİYE

Keywords: Republican Period, Atatürk and Archaeology, Archaeology Policies, Ekrem Akurgal.


After the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk aimed to realize a series of innovations in many fields and to establish a "Republic of Science" within the scope of a new state/new civilization project. In every step taken in line with this aim, principles such as “science, national sovereignty, and national will” took place. The principles of the Republic of Science have also spread to archaeology. As a result of both the science policies of the Republic and the principles of republicanism, a number of innovations have taken place in the field of archaeology, from education to practice. In this period, the innovations in question were realized both with institutions such as the Turkish Historical Society, Turkish Archaeology Institute, Faculty of Language and History – Geography, which were established in the 1930s, as well as through experts. The idea of benefiting from the West in the scientific world was also noticed in the field of archaeology, and it was deemed necessary by the state for experts to be trained in this field to receive training abroad. Ekrem Akurgal, the subject of this study, was among the students sent abroad during this period.

Akurgal, who lived between 1911 and 2002, was the first academic in the Republic of Türkiye to be awarded the title of associate professor with a written thesis. This study covers Akurgal's life story, his contribution to the world of archaeology and the archaeological policies of the Republic of Türkiye. The study is a qualitative research that aims to contribute to the history of archaeology. Throughout the research, depending on the course of the subject, general research techniques, scientific research methods such as comparison, establishing a causeeffect relationship and induction were utilized. The aim of the study is to investigate the extent to which the archaeological policies of the Republic of Türkiye, which is not independent from Atatürk's "Republic of Science" ideal, are reflected in the works of the archaeologist in question. It has been determined that Ekrem Akurgal had a purpose in his excavations and in the works he wrote, and that he aimed to realize this goal with the ideal of the "Republic of Science" and the spirit of republicanism. In addition, he applied the institutionalization policies of the Republic to archaeology and took initiatives for the institutionalization of this field and the training of experts to be employed in this field. In this context, Akurgal is defined as a scientist who realizes how great the task of an archaeologist is in creating a national culture and illuminating a culture and doing his work with a national spirit.

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