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AKURGAL, Ekrem

Archeologist (b. 30 March 1911, Tulkarem / Haifa / Palestine [İstanbul in Identity Card] – d. 1 November 2002, Karşıyaka / İzmir). The early part of his childhood was spent in Akyazı, a town in Adapazarı. After completing his pre-graduate education at İstanbul High School, he studied at the Faculty of Law for two years. He studied classical archeology under the famous Archeologist Gerhart Rodenwalt for nearly eight years between 1933 and 1940 at the Berlin University where he had started to study with a scholarship. He studied Greek and Roman Archeology, Ancient History, Classical Philology, Ancient Greek, Byzantium Art, Islam and Turkish Art and The History of Philosophy courses.

He received his PhD on Lycian Reliefs in 1939. After staying three months in Ankara and İstanbul, it was clear that Turkey would not be participating in the war and he was called back to Germany. In 1941 he started to work at Ankara University, Faculty of Language, History and Geography as an assistant and became an associate professor with his work on “The Harpy Monument” which he prepared in Berlin. He became a distinguished professor in the same year.

After he had a place to conduct scientific research at the faculty, he started to make excavations. Thus he conducted the excavations of Ancient Smyrna, Foça, Sinop, Daskyleion, Pitane and Erythrai for over forty years. He discovered the ancient cities of Foça, Çandarlı, Erytrai and Smyrna and published many books on Ancient Greek, Hittite-Hatti and old Anatolian civilizations in various languages. The most important achievement of Akurgal was the foundation of the Turkish Art Department in 1956.

During his excavations the review Anatolia was published which he administered and where he was among the founders. After the military coup in 1960, the name of the review was changed to Anadolu and from the seventh issue onwards, the administration was passed to another manager. Akurgal was a member of seven academies in Europe and an honorary member of many science organizations worldwide. The University of Bordeaux (1961), the University of Athens (1988), Lecce University (1990) and Anadolu University (1990) gave him the title of honorary doctor. He was also given the Star Rank Merit Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (1979), the Goethe Medallion (1979), the Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture Grand Award (1981), Italian Commandatore Award (1987) and the title of French Légion d'Honneur Officier (1990). After he retired, he lived in İzmir. According to his will, he was buried in Bayraklı a town near İzmir where he had started his first excavations.

WORKS:

Anadolu Kültür Tarihi (Anatolia Cultural History), Türkiyenin Kültür Sorunları ve Anadolu Uygarlıklarının Dünya Tarihindeki Önemi (The Cultural Issues of Turkey and the Importance of Anatolian Civilizations on World History), Bir Arkeoloğun Anıları Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Kültür Tarihinden Birkaç Yaprak (The Memoirs of an Archeologist and Some Pages from the Culture History of the Turkish Republic), Anadolu Uygarlıkları, Hatti ve Hitit Uygarlıkları (Anatolian Civilizations, the Hattie and Hittite Civilizations), Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey.