Recent Histories, 2010

Documentation of local information and histories

Conversations with local community members in 2010 focused on village and resource histories. A specific interest was exploring how and when people settled in the region and why certain villages were subsequently abandoned. People were asked also about the value of heritage and the surrounding environmental conditions. A preliminary interview form was developed and tested on one of the project’s cooks, but was deemed to be too formal and unnecessary for use for all other documentation, which resulted from casual conversations.

In Tekelioğlu it was learned that the vast majority of people had yörük roots and settled in the village in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Today most people are either farmers or fishermen. There is much concern in the community regarding First Class Protection lands in Bin Tepe. As reported by CLAS in our 2009 report, major conflicts exist between how regulations are enforced. Our understanding of the regulations from the local community is that it is technically illegal to plant trees and to drill for water on First Class Protection lands. In and around Tekelioğlu the activities of the German organic agricultural company Rapunzel have drastically impacted how much of Bin Tepe is farmed. Rapunzel subsidizes seeds and organic pesticides; further subsidies are given by the Department of Agriculture for olives (formerly tobacco) and organic produce. Rapunzel works with the local villagers to educate them about organic approaches to living. We learned that all gardens in the village are organic. We also learned that there is a general approach to sustainable development that includes drip irrigation as well as organic milk processing (separate from Rapunzel) run by a company in Salihli.

According to the local community, the designation of the entire area of Bin Tepe with First Class Protection lands must be lifted; local newspaper reports from 8 July 2010 confirm this position. The local aim is to have the areas between tumuli designated with Third Class Protection, allowing for (legal) orchards and water wells, while the tumuli themselves will remain designated with First Class Protections. Contrary to CLAS results from 2005, which revealed a number of settlements located between the tumuli in Bin Tepe, including one of the earliest Paleolithic sites in this part of western Turkey, the local community believes that there are no archaeological sites between the tumuli.

In Hacıveliler we learned about the history of the current village as well as about that of Eski Hacıveliler. The current village continues to have a solid link to their ancestral village; this study, then, provides an opportunity to explore the dynamics of memory and commemoration. Between 1971 and 1976 residents from Eski Hacıveliler moved to the current location of Hacıveliler in order to be closer to the road and their fields; this shift in settlement documents a more general shift from pastoral to agricultural subsistence practices. Residents of the current village have legal title to their respective house plots/areas in Eski Hacıveliler; they do not have legal title to their current settlements. Villagers still feel strongly that Eski Hacıveliler not be occupied by “outsiders” because it is “their village.” Related to this ancestral tie is the continued use of the cemetery in Eski Hacıveliler by current residents of Hacıveliler. Villagers in Hacıveliler lamented the loss of their two-storied houses in Eski Hacıveliler because they were “more airy.”

The history of the village of Eski Hacıveliler provides a good overview for understanding regional dynamics from the mid-nineteenth century to around 1970. Three primary yörük families settled the village originally; one family came from Thrace in the 1920s. Craftsmen came from Turgutlu to trade ceramics in exchange for cotton; yet most of the economic life of the village was linked to Gölmarmara. Village houses had glass windows (from Gölmarmara) and were painted. During the Turkish War of Independence and the Greek occupation of the region, especially after the crossing of the Milne Line, Greek forces conducted periodic raids on the village.

In Yeniköy historic wooden ceilings and doors first seen in 2009 were revisited. They are currently installed in a field house used for storage of agricultural supplies (i.e., no one lives in the house). According to the villagers in Yeniköy and the owner of the house (the current muhtar), such ceilings and doors could originally be found in two or three houses in Eski Yeniköy. They were all made by itinerant craftsmen from Bulgaria, but no one remembers exactly when they were made. They were transported by tractor in 1979 to their current setting from Eski Yeniköy during the final wave of its abandonment, which had begun in 1949. The current condition of the ceilings is poor. They should be removed and properly conserved, as befitting their historic nature.

In light of both the information we obtained from conversations with villagers regarding the population shifts in the region between 1900 and the present and the historic nature of Gölmarmara proper, one of the few local cities not burned during the War of Independence, we plan to continue historic and archival documentation of these villages and the wider area in coming years.

Documentation of currently unoccupied villages

One valuable approach to historical documentation is the recording of patterns of settlement structure and the standing remains of currently unoccupied villages. This approach was adopted for Eski Hacıveliler in 2010 over the course of six days in the field, led by CLAS researcher Elvan Cobb. Most of the buildings in Eski Hacıveliler show remarkable preservation: a number of abandoned buildings still retain the upper stories of mud brick walls, yet all roof structures are gone. The lower stories were constructed out of local stone, which stand up to three meters high in some cases. As the buildings with the standing mud brick were considered to be under the greatest threat of deterioration and to provide an opportunity to understand local building technologies, documentation focused on these structures. Using a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS system, house plans were mapped. A total of 14 houses, the minaret and the exterior boundary of the cemetery were mapped.

Additionally, we began documenting the facades of the mapped structures with rectified photography. The rectified photographs of these facades, along with the floor plans of the same buildings, provide an accurate and comprehensive documentation of the traditional building technologies. Combined with the situation of particular houses within the fabric of the larger community, this documentation sheds light on the spatial organizations of vernacular architecture in the region. Rectified photographs will most likely be useful for determining the rate of deterioration in this type of architecture, as future recordings of the same facades will allow us to measure the impact of weathering. During the 2010 season, 18 facades were documented with rectified photography.