Merhaba! (Ali Demirkiran, Turkey, ITP 2023)

Written by Ali Demirkiran, Archaeologist, Ephesus Museum (Turkey, ITP 2023)

Merhaba! My name is Ali Demirkiran. I am from Turkey.

I am currently working at the Ephesus Museum, where I am responsible for Greek and Roman stone artefacts and inscriptions. Actually, I was going to apply for the ITP programme years ago, but unfortunately the pandemic prevented me then. I was looking forward to participating and I finally joined this year. Being here was something I dreamed of and after my return, my role at the Epheus Museum will be more creative, inclusive, and supportive of many projects that I will share with my fellow experts.

Ephesus Ancient City, Celsus Library

The first day I arrived at the British Museum, I was very impressed by the magnificent main entrance resembling the Parthenon temple. After entering, the lion that greeted me in the large courtyard was the Knidos Lion, which I had been excavating for three seasons. At that moment, I was both very happy and very emotional because I had heard about the ITP programme from Ian Jenkins through Prof Dr Ertekin Doksanalti, the head of excavations at Knidos. Unfortunately Sir Jenkins has since passed away.

I guess the artefact that most impressed me in The British Museum was the Balawat Gate from the Assyrian Period, which took me back to my childhood. I was surprised to see the massive gate, whose name I knew and had only seen in books. This gate was found in the temple built by Assurnasirpal II for the dream god Mamu. Although I specialise in Greece and Rome now, I was born in Mesopotamia and I have known Assyria, one of the oldest and largest Empires of Mesopotamia, since my high school years.

The Balawat Gate

Every day at the British Museum we are doing very different  things and enjoyable education. Thomas Kiely, our curator in the Greece and Rome department, helps us a lot in every subject.

One of my colleagues in my department and I get along well because we have very similar aspects. Mohamed Aymen Chihaoui, Director at Archaelogical Enfidha Museum, National Heritage Institute, Ministry of Culture, Tunisia.  He also has knowledge about management and planning. He is also looking forward to our partner placement in Norwich with myself and Twana Mamand, Researcher, Salahaddin University, Iraq.

It’s already been two weeks, I don’t know where the time has gone!

(L-R) Twana Mamand, Aymen Chihaoui, and Ali Demirkiran in front of Stonehenge.