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INTRODUCTION

The Eco-Center was founded on the platform provided by the Kerkenes Project, which started as the archaeological survey of the ancient city on the Kerkenes Dag, Yozgat, in 1993 since when it has become a well-established multi-disciplinary research project. Results of the archaeological survey and excavations at Kerkenes, directed by Geoffrey and Françoise Summers and funded by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, National Geographic Society, Rolex Award for Enterprise and many others (see http://kerkenes.metu.edu.tr), and the post fieldwork multidisciplinary studies carried out at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, have received international recognition. The Kerkenes House, the expedition base, is in the village of Sahmuratli (Fig. 3). Research and domestic facilities have improved over the years thanks to many generous sponsors.

Continuing efforts put into developing the Kerkenes Eco-Center (Fig. 1) involve the villagers of Sahmuratli as well as staff and students from METU. The villagers benefit directly from the results while the project will be a means of spreading, through an educational institution, knowledge and convictions touching on the important issues of environment and sustainability. The project also provides enthusiastic staff and students from METU with opportunities to participate actively in environmental studies. This report focuses on the 2003 programme although activities extending into 2004 are also discussed.

General aims and objectives
The aims and objectives focus on the welfare of Sahmuratli Village. They provide an opportunity for the development of a viable and sustainable framework and organization which will allow the activities proposed to become self-supporting in the long term. These activities will be initiated by the Kerkenes Eco-Center Project but, once firmly established, it is anticipated that the Eco-Center would become self-supporting and largely run by the local contingency. The Kerkenes Eco-Center will also demonstrate possible ways of striving for a sustainable and an environmentally friendly approach.
Drip irrigation, reuse of grey water, composting, use of renewable energy and alternative approaches to building can all demonstrate practical and sustainable ways of caring for the future of our planet. The first grants to support planned activities, awarded by the Australian Embassy in 2002 and 2003, can be seen to bear fruits (Fig. 2).

Other activities related to the choice of building materials in conjunction with studies on environmental building performance were also initiated through the participation of METU students and the British Council Partnership grant. Experiments with alternative building materials and a study of the results will be the first step in the construction of facilities for the Eco-Center. These activities also provide an opportunity for students to have 'hands on' experience on which to base their studies.

The Kerkenes Eco-Center Initiative and the Village Association
Staff and students from METU have been working with the villagers of Sahmuratli during the annual summer campaign and progress is followed up from Ankara all year round. The project will use its web page to report on the results and spread knowledge. Convictions touching the important issues of environment and sustainability can thus be voiced to a wide public.
The most significant recent development is the initiative taken by a group of villagers to set up the Sahmuratli Village Association which has recently acquired its legal status under the name of:

Sahmuratli Köyü ve Kerkenes’i Tanitma, Güzellestirme, Yardimlasma ve Dayanisma Dernegi (Benevolent and Supportive Association for the Improvement and Promotion of Sahmuratli Village and Kerkenes).

The head of the Association, Osman Muratdagi, is also the Village Headman (Muhtar). A commendable initiative came from Sahmuratli villagers, both in Turkey and abroad, who have set up a web page and have put the village on the World Wide Web at:

http://www.sahmuratli.com

 


 
 
 
 
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