As the main educational element under the Stewards of Cultural Heritage Project, the German Archaeological Institute – Istanbul branch, in close cooperation with the Seminar für Alte Geschichte, Forschungsstelle Asia Minor at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster organized a summer conservation project at the archaeological site of Doliche/Dülük Baba Tepesi in Gaziantep in 2017. The five Syrian awardees of the SoCH project led a team to conduct the conservation project on the site, under the supervision of an architect with experience in restoration projects.
In 2017, we chose a working area – a corner of the Iron Age weather god temple, with later Roman and Medieval additions and modifications – and developed the conservation concept. However, the restoration of the Iron Age took two years to complete. Since 2019, the restoration project is led by two Syrian awardees of the SoCH which are supervised by Mr. Andreas Hoffschildt.
The restoration project this year is a continuation of the previous campaigns of 2017 and 2019. This year, our focus was on the Roman part of the temple area which is located next to and overlapping the Iron Age remains.
Over the winter period there was a massive growth of plants in the whole area and a minor growth at and on the walls themselves. The big Roman ashlar blocks (limestone) were in poor condition. Also, the Iron Age walls were damaged by being exposed to the weather and climate. Especially the top-most part of the walls were in bad condition.
To protect these ashlars we discussed many options, and as a result, we decided to rebury parts of them, because it was the only feasible way to protect them from the environmental exposure. At the same time, we wanted to present these ashlars and foundations in a way to make them understandable for future visitors. Therefore, we decided to cover the foundations with modern walls, which will then, in the latest stage, be visible only as a footprint of the original walls. The rest of the original Roman ashlars will be protected by the new walls and soil. This solution seemed the most convincing combination of maintaining the ancient walls and allowing people to understand the situation.
We are now in the final stages of the restoration project and are covering the original walls with soil, as well as preparing information boards for future visitors.
by Mouhanad Aboudan and Ahmad Masri