Urla-Çeşme peninsula has been a target place of mass migrations since 1980’s. Since the beginning of 2000’s migration flows, changing demography and neoliberal activities sponsored by the government has significant negative impact on the landscape, and created various ecological threats. Wind power turbines, fish farms and quarries far exceed the need of the local population, and significantly decrease their living qualities. Due to the lack of clever heritage management threat to the cultural landscape and its features continue to increase. From the beginning KLASP takes charge of sustainable protection of the cultural landscape by recording and making registration of archaeological sites through the council of conservation of cultural heritage. We care to preserve sites with deep history at an optimum level keeping in mind that change is the essential quality of landscape. In recent years from our experiences we understand that the registration of sites as 1st degree archaeological site is not the only efficient way of protecting them. Sustainable conservation is only possible with the consent of local people and all sorts of stakeholders. However, this is not easy. When it comes to a monumental building or a site with monuments people are already convinced about the value of these places as heritage. On the other hand, rural heritage has much lower visibility and much less value in regard of most people. From this point of view the project embraces the methodology of activist/engaged archaeology to make individuals into partner-actors for the conservation and management of cultural heritage, instead of creating hierarchical and didactic dialogues where local communities are locked into passive positions. In collaboration with Newcastle University McCord Centre for Landscape a series of workshops were organized to inform local communities, and to conduct pilot projects for the use of a special app designed by one of our collaborators (Stelios Lekakis) to recognise and document landscape features (terraces, historic trees, architectural fragments, roads etc) and upload data from GPS or smartphones to an open database.
KLASP also collaborates with NGO’s and local authorities to create and maintain a network of information for reporting current and potential destructions. Our workshop programs included basic trainings about the recognition of landscape features through a route that we have chosen which lasts 2 to 3 hours (6 km), including agricultural terraces, a church, olive trees, olive oil / wine production elements, threshold, abandoned houses. In the end a questioner is handed out for feedback. By conducting field surveys and recording landscape features we are revealing augmenting the visibility of past landscapes which is an essential part of the current one. Creating a network for the mutual flow of information between the scholars and locals, and collaborating with them to prevent destructions creates a genuine bond which is fundamental for the sustainable conservation of the cultural landscape. Realizing that landscape is continuously dynamic, and containing a great variety of features (archaeological remains, new values attributed to archaeological remains, local knowledge, old trees, endemic plants, wild animals, ancient traditions continued to present etc) keeping a record of landscape ecologies of present and past is crucial to increase its value in regard of local communities. Field survey is the most efficient method for the diachronic record of the landscape and its features, also gives us the opportunity to interact with the people for an efficient dialogue for solving the current problems.