Where has the year gone? As a freelancer it’s been a bit of a roller coaster year and I had to hold my nerve as I did have a bit of a “dry” patch and subsequent crisis in confidence. But the year has finished strongly and I am really looking forward to 2020.
I’d like to say thanks to a few people and organisations who have helped me out this year. The wonderful Debs Poneskis who really helped me out at a difficult time. The @MuseumFreelance team Christina and Marge whose annual conference in March in Manchester was reaffirming, my former colleague Sarah Simmonds @StonehengeandAveburyWHS who is always encouraging and supportive, the ever wise Tim Burge, Helen Horler @CultureForce and the great team @WorldHeritageUK. There are many more – I hope you know who you are.
In the end 2020 was OK. I enjoyed a variety of jobs, the highlight being my first international work in the incredible Göbekli Tepe World Heritage Site in the Province of Şanliurfa in south eastern Turkey. This largely undiscovered area for UK visitors has a lot to offer. Its proximity to the Syrian border is likely to deter any but the most intrepid visitors for a while but is worth a trip. The site itself is 6,000 years older than Stonehenge and is truly fascinating. A pre-pottery Neolithic Site in the “Fertile Crescent” the artefacts revealed are astonishing for their sophistication. Şanliurfa, or just Urfa, is an ancient city, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. It has been controlled by the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs amongst others and also known as Edessa by the Romans and the Crusaders.
Göbekli Tepe itself, despite its age, is a relatively new tourism site having only been discovered in the 1960s and excavated from the 1990s. It was inscribed onto the World Heritage list in 2018 and in the same year a new visitor centre with exhibition centre was also opened. 2019 was designated the “Year of Göbekli Tepe” by Turkish Tourism and the site has seen some real spikes in visitor numbers in the last year which, if not managed, have the potential to put the fragile archaeological site at risk.
I am working with the DMO for the Province and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to develop a visitor management plan for the Site, the first of its kind in Turkey. The team there are great to work with and it’s a great site to be associated with. I look forward to continuing the association as the visitor management plan develops. I’d like to thank ever supportive heritage colleagues at Newgrange, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths who have provided useful case studies and examples of best practice that I can share with the team in Turkey.
I still have capacity into 2020 – do get in touch if you think that I can help you…
Have a wonderful Christmas and a successful and happy 2020.