AIA News

February 17, 2023

AIA Statement of Solidarity on the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

The Archaeological Institute of America stands in solidarity with the people of southeastern Turkey and northern Syria who were impacted by the devastating earthquake on February 6, 2023, and its multiple aftershocks. Members of the archaeological community in North America share the unimaginable pain and suffering of the communities in the region and we send compassion, strength, and support to those families who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their cities, and their places of livelihood and belonging.  

To date, more than 37,000 precious lives have been lost, and several thousands of buildings have collapsed, across ten major urban centers in Turkey, most severely in Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Antakya, and Adıyaman. We send our deepest condolences and most sincere sympathies. The Archaeological Institute of America and its members have mobilized to offer care in many ways, from the moment that news of the earthquakes landed in our quarters.

Southeastern Turkey and northern Syria are unique and beautiful regions on our planet, distinctive and prominent with deep histories of humanity, and possess communities who are both inheritors and stewards of cultural heritage that testifies to the rich histories of the land.

Museums, libraries, and archives house archaeological, cultural, ethnographic, and other significant objects, including manuscripts and written documents, dating from antiquity to the present day. Sacred sites and holy places dear to various religious communities are abundant in the impacted areas. The warm-hearted people of this region have always kept their doors, arms, and hearts open to North American researchers, tourists, and visitors. We understand that it is our turn to help in these difficult times by calling attention to the humanitarian crisis, supporting relief at the community level, and, as appropriate, by mobilizing resources from the new Nancy Wilkie Funds for Emergency Heritage Protection, envisioned for use in crises such as these.

Numerous ongoing archaeological projects are in the territory of the earthquake impacted region. We share the pain of our colleagues who have lost team members, local collaborators, students, and we appreciate that many of these archaeological projects opened their dig houses to those families who have lost their homes. We include below funding campaigns of such archaeological projects and other humanitarian aid channels, in the hopes of alerting our members to efforts of relief and care.

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