The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey (TAY) Project: The First Digital Inventory on the Web

Tiryaki Türkmenoğlu H. A.

6th International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, İstanbul, Turkey, 22 - 24 June 2023, pp.28

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.28
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


    The cultural heritage of Turkey is subject to serious destruction as several archaeological sites have been suffering from illicit diggings and modern development in recent years. Regrettably, in most cases, it is not always possible to trace what was destroyed or lost due to a lack of proper documentation. Therefore, a national cultural heritage inventory is needed urgently.

TAY (The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey) Project has been creating such an inventory for about 29 years in Turkey through an investigation of all archaeological settlements previously revealed by the excavations and surveys in Anatolia and Thrace. The project, launched in 1993, is being conducted by a voluntary team of archaeologists and art historians. Archaeological settlements and monuments belonging to the period between the Palaeolithic to the end of the Byzantine Period are being documented. The project’s methodology is based on the gathering of all scattered data of the archaeological research in Turkey that began in the 1800s, in a systematically arranged open-access database. The data is also being published both as hard copies and digital sources in Turkish and English and updated periodically in accordance with the latest results of excavations and surveys. 

One of the most important components of the project was the TAY Expedition (TAYEx). The regions of Turkey were surveyed systematically by a team of specialists. All previously known sites were documented with the Global Positioning System (GPS) and a computerized specially equipped vehicle. Thereby the past archaeological data is controlled, the current situation of the sites is recorded and moreover, a visual archive of Turkey’s cultural heritage site was created.  

The TAY Project has started studies on Byzantine heritage of Turkey in 2001 and completed the Byzantine architectural inventory of the modern Marmara Region including the Turkish Thrace, Istanbul and Bithynia, and Central Anatolia region. The inventory of Mediterranean region is being studied. This paper presents the building inventories of the Byzantine Period. In addition, the data obtained and the difficulties encountered during the expedition will be discussed.