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Ekrem Akurgal

Ekrem Akurgal

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Ekrem Akurgal was a Turkish
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 archaeologist. During a career that spanned more than fifty years, he conducted definitive research in several sites along the western coast of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 such as Phokaia (Foça
Foça
Foça is town and district in Turkey's İzmir Province.The town of Foça is situated at about north by northwest of İzmir city center. The district also has a township with own municipality named Yenifoça , also along the shore and at a distance of from Foça proper...

), Pitane
Pitane (Aeolis)
Pitane , near Çandarlı, Turkey, was an ancient Greek town of Aeolis, in Asia Minor. In ancient times it was a port city and a member of the Delian League. About 334 BC, Alexander the Great tried to take over the city, but was repulsed by Memnon of Rhodes and 5,000 Greek mercenaries provided by...

 (Çandarlı
Çandarli
Çandarlı is a coastal township with own municipality within the district of Dikili in western Turkey's İzmir Province. It is a well-developed town and an important tourist resort...

), Erythrai (Ildırı
Ildiri
Ildırı formerly known as Lytri is a picturesque sea-side village belonging to the administrative district of Çeşme in Turkey's İzmir Province and located about twenty-five kilometers north of Çeşme town, facing Chios....

) and old Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna was an ancient city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Thanks to its advantageous port conditions, its ease of defence and its good inland connections, Smyrna rose to prominence. The ancient city is located at two sites within modern İzmir, Turkey...

 (Bayraklı höyük, the original site of the city of Smyrna before the city's move to another spot across the Gulf of İzmir
Gulf of Izmir
The Gulf of İzmir , formerly known as the Gulf of Smyrna, is a gulf on the Aegean Sea, with its inlet between the peninsula of Karaburun and the mainland area of Foça...

). A polyglot
Polyglot (person)
A polyglot is someone with a high degree of proficiency in several languages. A bilingual person can speak two languages fluently, whereas a trilingual three; above that the term multilingual may be used.-Hyperpolyglot:...

, he also had a star quality that eased relations beyond Turkey's borders, for the benefit of the image of the country that he represented with skill.

Biography


He was born on March 30, 1911 in the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 village of Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 (today a Palestinian
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 city in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

), where his mother's family owned a large farm. Later on, he would jokingly comment on the village of Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 itself becoming a well-known name in the world of archaeology, the place being close to the location of the ancient site of Caesarea Maritima. He descended from a family of Ottoman
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 intellectuals and religious men, several of whose members had assumed the office of mufti
Mufti
A mufti is a Sunni Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law . In religious administrative terms, a mufti is roughly equivalent to a deacon to a Sunni population...

, the highest title of the Islamic clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 in a given region, for the Ottoman province of Herzegovina
Herzegovina
Herzegovina is the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While there is no official border distinguishing it from the Bosnian region, it is generally accepted that the borders of the region are Croatia to the west, Montenegro to the south, the canton boundaries of the Herzegovina-Neretva...

. His family moved back from Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 to İstanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 when he was two years old. For some time, they resided in another family farm, this time near Akyazı
Akyazi
Akyazı is a town and district of Sakarya Province in the Marmara region of Turkey. The mayor is Yaşar Yazıcı .- External links :* *...

. He received his first education from his father's sister and her husband, who taught literature in Darülfünun (Istanbul University
Istanbul University
Istanbul University is a Turkish university located in Istanbul. The main campus is adjacent to Beyazıt Square.- Synopsis :A madrasa, a religious school, was established sometime in the 15th century after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. An institution of higher education named the...

 today).

Akurgal graduated in 1931 from Istanbul High School for Boys and, having earned a state scholarship, went to the University of Berlin in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 to study archaeology. In a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , short F.A.Z., also known as the FAZ, is a national German newspaper, founded in 1949. It is published daily in Frankfurt am Main. The Sunday edition is the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung .F.A.Z...

 made in 1990, the interviewer was to remark that, now and then, his German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 was still unmistakably tainted with Berlinerisch
Berlinerisch
Berlinerisch, Berlinisch, or Berliner Schnauze is a dialect of Berlin Brandenburgish spoken in Berlin. It originates from a Mark Brandenburgish variant...

.

In 1957, he became a professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 in University of Ankara. He worked mainly in the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 Region, starting the researches on Phokaia (Foça
Foça
Foça is town and district in Turkey's İzmir Province.The town of Foça is situated at about north by northwest of İzmir city center. The district also has a township with own municipality named Yenifoça , also along the shore and at a distance of from Foça proper...

), Pitane (Çandarlı
Çandarli
Çandarlı is a coastal township with own municipality within the district of Dikili in western Turkey's İzmir Province. It is a well-developed town and an important tourist resort...

), Erythrai (Ildırı) and old Smyrna (Bayraklı tumulus). He published numerous books on ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

, Hittite
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

 and other ancient civilizations of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

.

Akurgal received honorary doctorates from the University of Bordeaux
University of Bordeaux
University of Bordeaux is an association of higher education institutions in and around Bordeaux, France. Its current incarnation was established 21 March 2007. The group is the largest system of higher education schools in southwestern France. It is part of the Academy of Bordeaux.There are seven...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1961, the University of Athens, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 in 1988, the University of Lecce
University of Lecce
The University of Salento is a university located in Lecce, Italy. It was founded in 1955 and is organized in 10 Faculties.The University of Salento commenced activities in the academic year 1955-56 under the “Salentine University Council”...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in 1990 and the Anadolu University
Anadolu University
Anadolu University is a public university in Eskişehir, Turkey and the fourth largest university in the world by enrollment.- History :...

 in Eskişehir
Eskisehir
Eskişehir is a city in northwestern Turkey and the capital of the Eskişehir Province. According to the 2009 census, the population of the city is 631,905. The city is located on the banks of the Porsuk River, 792 m above sea level, where it overlooks the fertile Phrygian Valley. In the nearby...

 in 1990.

He was titular of the German Great Cross of Merit with star
Bundesverdienstkreuz
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only general state decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has existed since 7 September 1951, and between 3,000 and 5,200 awards are given every year across all classes...

 in 1979, of the Goethe Medal
Goethe Medal
The Goethe Medal, also known as the Goethe-Medaille, is a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute honoring non-Germans for meritorious contributions in the spirit of the Institute. It is an official decoration of the Federal Republic of Germany....

 in 1979, of Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Republic
Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951...

 in 1987 and of French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Légion d'honneur Officier
Légion d'honneur
The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

.

Settled in İzmir
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

 since the seventies to pursue his work on the nearby sites with more effectiveness, Akurgal died on November 1, 2002 in İzmir
Izmir
Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

. His work and legacy is being carried on by his wife, Meral Akurgal, an accomplished archaeologist herself and his closest assistant in his lifetime.

External links