Saturday, 27 August 2011

I decided to officially archive this blog on the day my DPhil was confirmed. But I have waited for the electronic publication of my thesis, Interrogating Archaeological Ethics in Conflict Zones: Cultural Heritage Work in Cyprus, to announce the archiving. From now on, I will blog at Conflict Antiquities.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Xanagale: warred village, resettled

[Thanks to Dave S's comment on the Evretou photo blog, I will try to give each site photo blog a proper introduction; until then, I'll cross-post the introductory posts from Cultural Heritage in Conflict (or samarkeolog).]

As I recorded in my fieldwork notes about Xanagale (also known as Cepür, Cupar and Xanegela),
[it] was evacuated and destroyed in 1993 or 1994, then later rebuilt and resettled. I understand that the village was 'destroyed, with machine, with fire, with all kinds of things', (something like, 'götürdü, makinesiyle, ateşli, her çeşitli şeyi').
I have a new personal page presenting photographs with mainly descriptive notes about them for the resettled warred village, Xanagale: cultural heritage and community.

I'm still toying with the colour suites I'm putting together to help distinguish between my personal and research pages, so (over and above the photographs themselves), it may be less than easy on the eye for a while.

[This was originally posted on samarkeolog on 11th June 2007.]

Monday, 11 June 2007

Xanagale buildings 21c: I can’t remember exactly what this was, if indeed I knew in the first place, but it resembles a fireplace or hearth, with the front wall of its chimney fallen away.
Xanagale buildings 21b: this was a useful site to visit, as it gave a good idea of the ways buildings are damaged or destroyed by natural causes and the ways you might be able to tell; here, the scattered, fallen-in masonry does not appear to resemble the pushed-in, pulled-down or collapsed stone assemblages of deliberately destroyed sites.
Xanagale buildings 21a: as with the first castle, the fact that this was wrecked by earthquake, but is still standing, demonstrates the vitriol and violence of the Turkish military’s attack upon the village.
Xanagale building 19b: older and subjected to earthquake, but still in better condition that the homes of the evacuated Kurdish villagers, this corner of the castle is a testament to its builders’ skills, as well as to the determination of the Turkish army to destroy community. (This was the first of the two castles visited.)
Xanagale buildings 20: this photograph was taken to give an impression of the present character of the village’s landscape and, perhaps, an impression of what its older areas would have looked like had they been left standing.

Xanagale building 19a: the stone ruins in the middle (and middle distance) are those of a castle destroyed by earthquake. (This was the first of the two castles visited.)

Xanagale buildings 18: the wall of the home in the centre of the photograph has been partially ruined; more intriguing for me, however, was the slump of stones in front of it, which does not now resemble any kind of built structure and, so, cannot now intimate its destruction.
Xanagale buildings 17: the yard outside this new home is the only remaining material from the old home that used to stand here; if you hadn’t been told that it was the sole evidence of this act of domicide/urbicide, you wouldn’t know and couldn’t tell.
Xanagale buildings 16: the half-height walls are all that remain of both the building in the centre of the photograph and the building in the foreground, from which the photograph was taken; in the foreground, it’s just possible to see that interior soil banks are one or two courses short of the current tops of these walls.

As an aside, I also noticed the window on the left of the central building and the doorway on its right had been filled in at some point; many of the stones do not look like the slabs used in its main construction and are not set as well, which may suggest that they were a fairly rough-and-ready measure to enclose it somewhat; the ruins may be being reused by the inhabitants of the abutting new home.

I’m not sure, but there is a cluster of stones by the tree on the hillside that, in this photograph, is immediately above and left from the far top left corner of the new home.
Xanagale buildings 15d: if it were not for the distinct ledge noted in the photograph of Xanagale buildings 15b, the creeping colonisation of grasses on and indistinct edges of the foundations could lend them the appearance of mere worn ground.

Xanagale buildings 15c: this is the second close-up of the second set of foundations in Xanagale buildings 15a, which, with the surface of the foundations resembling the grassless soil in front of them and disappearing into the grasses behind them, show how easily these remains could become indistinct.
Xanagale buildings 15b: this is the first close-up of the second set of foundations in Xanagale buildings 15a, which, with the ledge on the left of the photograph, show how distinct even these few remains could be.
Xanagale buildings 15a: the very sparsely vegetated area in the centre of the photograph, neatly defined by the grasses and trees, is a run of three homes that were razed to the ground by the Turkish military.
Xanagale buildings 14b: this shows a close-up of the buildings on the left in Xanagale buildings 14a and, in the front, some form of stone structure that is now gradually being reclaimed by Nature, though the process it went through to become a run of stones a few courses high was anything but natural.
Xanagale buildings 14a: on the left, the old stone building is abutted by what could be a concrete extension or rebuilding; on the right, what look to be new stone buildings with concrete frames or structure, although it might be a renovation.
Xanagale building 13: through these branches may be seen the half-overgrown ruins of another set of old foundations for a home that no longer exists.
Xanagale building 12: here, a new three-room (or three-residence) building is being constructed from the foundations up; however, definitely in the right side of the left foundations and possibly in the near end of the middle ones, the foundations of the destroyed home that once stood here can (currently) be seen.

The establishment of a new structure, not merely on top of, but actually around the old material, will completely cover up any evidence for the old building’s destruction; perhaps this was what people meant when they told me that there was nothing left in Fum.
Xanagale building 11: emerging from under this side of the house are the foundations of the previous one; I don’t know whether the collections of stones around the concrete platform formed a rudimentary cobbled surface like the paths (to cope with the treacherous çamur (mud or mire)), whether they’re the dumped stones from the clearance of the immediate area, or whether they’re the (unmoved, untrampled) leftovers and the more or less grassy area around them has been cleared of stones (for paths or whatever else).

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Xanagale building 10: these wholly-exposed, well-preserved foundations show what clear evidence for past communities’ presence we have beneath the surface.
Xanagale building 9: the only material left is the foundation jutting out from under the wood store over/into the soil.
Xanagale building 8: these foundations are interesting, because on the near left side, you can see the concrete decomposing; so, in some places, maybe erosion and deposition aren’t creating soil banks, so much as foundations’ decomposition is.
Xanagale building 7: there is a new building – another home? – being built on these old foundations.
Xanagale building 6: the foundations of this former building are showing the very first signs of the grass colonisation and ecological succession that will eventually cover it completely.
Xanagale building 5: these foundations are distinct from the “front” (note the entrance platform), but as can be seen, they are roughly level with and being absorbed into the land around them; the back end is indistinguishable, but it is marked by the pale grey-brown material (mud reflecting light) sandwiched between the dark grey-brown above and medium below.
Xanagale buildings 4b: from this angle, the near ruins in photograph Xanagale buildings 4a reveals a new feature: on the far right of the photo, at the corner of the foundations, is a small concrete construction, with two fairly large, grey stone in it and concrete or mortar around its near side; it may have been square or rectangular, but the soil deposition and colonising grasses and shrubs have begun to cover and conceal the feature.

This place is not at the bottom of a slope or on a heavily-trafficked route, but it is still being (albeit more slowly) lost. If this village were rebuilt and resettled in 2003, it may be fair to assume that the deposition of significant quantities of soil occurred after this date (that is to say, in the past four years); still, how much was deposited during the process of demolition is unknown.

The already-half-buried feature on the far right, which is only a couple of inches above the soil layer now, may be completely covered in another four years’ time. The concrete foundations will be somewhat visible for many years yet, but, as the soil banks obscuring its edges suggest, it may become unidentifiable without local testimony and that may be unverifiable and deniable without archaeological excavation.

Also worthy of note are the panels of the wall of the building at the back left of the photograph, each of which has (presumably children’s) drawings of homes on them. (They may not be accurate, although that isn’t important; still, the designs of the roofs and even the bolt visible on the far right panel’s homes have been seen locally.)

I believe these drawings were done by the children of the new villagers, in which case, they were done with the ruins of the homes destroyed by the Turkish military directly behind them. If not, they would have been drawn by children subsequently displaced and would have depicted (the child’s-eye vision of) the kind of family home that was destroyed.
Xanagale buildings 4a: on the near right side of the nearest of these two concrete foundations, there is a large stone object several feet in length; just behind it, you can see where I think would have been the entrance. I’m afraid if the stone object is anything, it’s unidentified, as I didn’t think to ask what it was or why it had been left – stored? – on the foundations.
Xanagale building 3: like Xanagale building 1, the foundations of this demolished building are now being re-used, in this case as a wood store.
Xanagale building 2: although the walls are largely intact (the near left side a few courses shorter than the others), the roof is missing; there is some soil and rubble within the ruined walls. If the roof had been of timber-and-turf construction, as was visible on some other stone buildings in the village and the area, it may have fallen in or been pulled down and formed the soil layer; the rubble layer could be stones from the walls that followed the roof.
Xanagale building 1: the surface of this outdoor storage and workspace is the foundation of a home destroyed by the Turkish military; the lower ledge on the left may have been the point of entrance.