Exhibition featuring 150th anniversary of Troy Excavations opens to visitors

An exhibition titled "Troy Excavations in the light of Ottoman Documents in the 150th Year" has been opened at the Troy Museum, where artifacts unearthed from the 5,600-year-old Troy Ruins in the northwestern province of Çanakkale are exhibited.


Stating that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Troy Excavations, Troy Museum Director Rıdvan Gölcük said: "The Troy Excavations started 150 years ago with permission taken on June 29, 1871. During these 150 years, the excavations opened many debates. At these discussions, various sources were mostly used. One of its main sources was the diaries of Heinrich Schliemann."

"But in this exhibition, we try to look at the Troy Excavations from a different perspective; we look at the excavations under the light of the Ottoman documents. How were excavation permits granted? How did they continue? What happened when the works were taken abroad? For instance, we had an antiquities law only two years before the excavations started. This antiquities law forbade the export of works. However, it said that the works found in private property could be kept by the owner. Schliemann started his excavation with this law enacted by Saffet Pasha, who expropriated the land of Troy just nine days before the excavation. So what does that mean? If Schliemann could buy that land, he would be able to keep everything unearthed there. But thanks to the expropriation, all findings had to become state property," he added.

Gölcük noted that when some of the artifacts were smuggled, a legal battle began, which was the world's first artifact recovery case.

"It is possible to follow the whole course of this case, which is such an important issue, in the Ottoman archives. The Ottoman Empire did not remain...

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