Carved in Stone

We are happy to award the Carved in Stone project £100,000

Carved in Stone aims to tackle the threat to rock-cut reliefs in Turkey.

The Department of Archaeology, Classics, and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool will work with local partners to protect rock-cut reliefs at risk from damage and destruction in Turkey.

The importance of rock-cut reliefs in Turkey

Rock reliefs are an important feature of many of the Anatolian civilisations that have defined the identity of modern Turkish state and are a dominant feature in the Turkish landscape. As well as forming a key part of the artistic legacy of the Hittites, rock reliefs were also created by Greek, Roman and Islamic period cultures. As rock carvings, they pose a specific cultural heritage protection problem, as unlike other antiquities and artefacts, they cannot be transferred to museums for safe keeping.

There are thousands of rock reliefs throughout Turkey, many of which are located in remote sites making them vulnerable to erosion, theft, vandalism and construction work. The political situation in Turkey provides an additional risk, alongside the ongoing war in neighbouring Syria. In addition, there is a traditional belief held in local villages that the reliefs contain buried gold, making them vulnerable to damage.

A two-staged approach: Combining Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI) with community-based heritage education

For the Carved in Stone project, the University of Liverpool will use the grant awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund to protect and record rock reliefs on the Syrian-Turkey border. They will use Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI)  to record rock reliefs at risk, and through community-based heritage education change attitudes to cultural heritage in local communities in Turkey.

  • As well as training 20 heritage professionals in Reflective Transformation Imaging (RTI), the project aims to create an online field manual to support the wider use of RTI. Samples of the resulting RTI data sets will be deposited in the Archaeology Data Service in York, enabling it to be shared with the archaeological community wordlwide. A number of RTI awareness raising events will also be delivered for Turkish heritage professionals in Ankara and Instanbul, raising the understanding of RTI in the Turkish Heritage Sector.
  • The project also aims to bring about a change in communities' attitudes to their own cultural heritage. An online resource for teachers will be developed, which, with the aid of a supporting programme, will enable teachers to use the resources to maximum impact. 

About the University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool (UoL) has since 1881 worked for the advancement of learning and ennoblement of life. As a connected, global University with multiple physical and virtual campuses – Liverpool, London, Suzhou, Singapore and online – its worldwide influence and impact is unrivalled in higher education.

The UoL continue to develop a high-quality environment in which to educate well-rounded, enquiring global citizens who connect and engage – through their learning, research, civic engagement and inter-cultural understanding – with the world’s most pressing problems. Activities include teaching and research to ensure that they derive the maximum benefit from their rich environment of intellectual enquiry and challenge. 

Project partners