Being Karian: On “Classical” Heritage in Bodrum

Gönül Bozoglu, Vinnie Nørskov and I have a new paper on “The Phantom Mausoleum: Contemporary Local Heritages of a Wonder of the Ancient World in Bodrum, Turkey” out in the Journal of Social Archaeology.

The paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork in Bodrum that we’ve done over a number of years and especially a series of interviews with local residents on the contemporary perception of archaeology and heritage. As the title suggests, the Maussolleion is very often perceived as a “phantom” in the cityscape. We discuss some reasons why this may be, including the curious place of “classical heritage” in the broader Turkish archaeological landscape and the consequences of “musealising” heritage within a living community. We also touch on the influence of Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı (aka “The Fisherman of Halikarnassos”) on the understanding of Bodrum’s archaeological landscape.

Halikarnassos Maussolleion
The Maussolleion, Bodrum, photo: TMK, April 2018.

As the title our paper indicates, one of the striking things about the Mausolleion (or Mausoleum) is the absence of the kind of monumentality that is associated with the status of a “wonder of the ancient world” and that inspires a wide array of re-imaginations of its place and role in both ancient and modern culture. For example, we discuss notions of a locally specific “Karian” identity in this region of Turkey. Over the coming years, it will be very interesting to follow the impact of the Milas “Hekatomneion” on this framing of local archaeology in the broader Bodrum region.

Herodotus, Artemisia, Maussollos
(Modern) statues of Herodotus, Artemisia and Maussollos outside the entrance to Bodrum Castle. Photo: TMK, April 2018.

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