Saturday, November 10, 2012

Archeology, Conflict, and Lawrence of Arabia

T.E. Lawrence (left of relief) at Karkemish.
First, I will admit that Lawrence of Arabia, with all of its problems, is probably one of my all-time favorite movies.

This article is an interesting glimpse into the way archeology and conflict intersect.  In particular, the piece talks about an archeological site where Lawrence once worked as an assistant.  The site, Karkemish, is on the boarder between Turkey and Syria.

And, no worries, we will not be visiting Karmeish . . . even though it would be interesting!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Turkish Economic Statistics

Not sure if anyone is interested in this, but I had to do some research on Turkey's economy for my international relations class, so I thought I'd share some stats I found.

GDP PPP: $1.087 trillion (U.S. dollars)

            Revenues: $176.7 billion (U.S. dollars)
            Expenditures: $187.1 billion (U.S. dollars)

Current account balance (negative): -$77.16 billion

Exports: $143.5 billion (U.S. dollars)
            Primary partners:
                       Germany 10.3%, Iraq 6.2%, UK 6%, France 5%, Russia 4.4%

Imports: $232.9 billion (U.S. dollars)
            Primary partners:
                       Russia 9.9%, Germany 9.5%, China 9%, US 6.7%, Italy 5.6%, Iran 5.2%

External Debt: $306.6 billion (U.S. dollars)

Exchange Rates: 1.675 Turkish liras per US dollar

Inflation: 6.5%

Percentage of Population Below the Poverty Line: 16.9%

Tourism, Preservation, and Economics

One of the issues that MVP raised last class was the struggle countries like Turkey face over preserving the past and the need for economic growth.  Should an archeological site be made "tourist friendly" in order to bring in the much needed funds that are required for archeological work and historical preservation?  What if these changes compromise the integrity of the site and the historical record?

A related question is what is the role of museums and other "interpretive institutions" in communicating an historical narrative and to whom should these interpretive narratives be directed?  Does a museum direct it's narrative to tourists who are bringing money into the country or those in country who might have a range of motivations for visiting a museum?

Anyway, these are questions that we will be asking while in Turkey and these are questions and issues that are "real" in Turkish decisions about where to direct money.  See Turkey Embraces Museum-Building Trend.