Azerbaijan Georgia Turkey Project

Remanents of pillars from the Minnetpinari basilica church are shown here.

Cultural heritage efforts in Turkey under the pipeline project have focused mainly on capacity building at the regional museums where most of the collections from the excavations were deposited. The museums are located in the provinces of Kars, Erzurum, Sivas, Kahramanmaras, and Adana, which lie along the route. The project began with needs assessments developed by the directorates for the museums, and has involved investment in equipment, training, and publications. The project undertook the capacity-building work in Turkey in conjunction with the Association of Archaeologists, Gazi University, and the British Institute of Archaeology, all in Ankara.

An additional result of the archaeology program in Turkey has been an internationally recognized series of illustrated publications on the sites excavated along the pipeline. The Smithsonian Institution’s AGT project website has posted the original Turkish excavation site reports in both Turkic and English, and will post the Azeri and Georgian reports as they become available.

As they wind their way through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, the pipelines stand as symbols of a more prosperous and integrated future for the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia. But the planning and construction of the pipelines have also had a major impact on understanding the past of the region, which has long been recognized as a heartland of ancient history. The cultural heritage component of the BTC and SCP pipelines project continues to fill, gaps in our knowledge of the civilizations that occupied these ancient lands. The project will have a lasting impact on archaeological science and institutions in the host countries. It will surely continue to encourage cooperation in understanding and appreciating this region’s common heritage that is such an important part of the shared heritage of people everywhere.

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