The foundation of the building from 10, 000 years ago was reconstructed in the same scale of the original, using weather resistant soil material.
During the October/November 2020 excavation season, a new undertaking took place within the scope of conservation and exhibition component of the Aşıklı Excavation and Research Project.
At the site, one 10 x 20 square meter size area, which was excavated, measured and documented previously in 1991, was identified for reconstruction. The area was covered with a protective and separative layer of geo-textile and on top of this layer kerpiç material prepared with a special technique, was placed; hence the revival of kerpiç wall foundations in the same scale from 10,000 years ago.
The new reconstructed area will enable visitors strolling the site without disturbing the original kerpiç architecture. Since the reconstruction material is composed of weatherproof soil mixture, the area does not need be covered and the visitors can appreciate the original settlement layout of Aşıklı Village throughout the year.
In Central Anatolia, the settlement pattern observed in the earliest village of prehistoric times consists of groups of rectangular planned buildings with kerpiç walls. The buildings have one or two rooms with entrance through their flat roofs. Each building/residence is similar to one another in terms of size, plan and interior features. Building groups form a neighborhood and neighborhoods are separated from each other by narrow alleys. Important part of daily life was spent on the roofs.
It is now possible to see and experience the 10, 000 year old settlement pattern on the mound along with the experimental replicas of the houses, reconstructed in former years, at the entrance of the mound. The settlement pattern exposed at Aşıklı represents the Central Anatolian settlement model in Neolithic times as well as the present-day traditional villages in Anatolia.
An initiative that requires special material and special expertise
This project was sponsored by the Turkish Historical Society (TTK). Approximately 40 truck loads of special kind of soil and impregnated and kiln-dried wooden material brought in from Istanbul were used during the reconstruction. The initiative which required special expertise and material was implemented and the first phase was successfully completed with the assistance of Atölye Mimarlık team (http://atolyemimarlik.com/) and the hard labor of local craftsmen. The entire effort took place during the cold and rainy days of November. Atölye Mimarlık formerly designed and constructed the protective roof shelter covering the ‘special purpose buildings area’ at Aşıklı Höyük.
During the project implementation, three principles of both international and Turkey preservation regulations were considered: Construction activities were held at minimum scale, the finds were not disturbed, and most importantly renewable design and recycled materials were used during reconstruction.
The aspect of “recycling without disturbance ” is especially important in archaeological excavations that have been going on for several years such as Aşıklı Höyük, since the technology and approach changes over time might require reinterpreting the findings.
Main Goal: Indoor Visitor Center
In the next phase of this project, that is defined as “reconstructive preservation phase”, the hearths, pits and other interior features from the original finds on 1:1 scale will be placed both on the residence floors of the dwellings and open spaces.
Furthermore, another 10 x 20 m size area will be preserved and opened for visitors. After completing the restoration, preservation and presentation project, including indoor visitor center, Aşıklı Höyük will become an epicenter of visitors where agriculture, animal domestication, obsidian technology and exchange of the Neolithic period could be observed throughout the year