conservation and exhibition of a prehistoric monumental site

Paper to be presented to the
Cultural Heritage Istanbul Congress 2011
Marcella Frangipane, Francesca Balossi Restelli, Giulio Palumbi
"Arslantepe-Malatya: Conservation and exhibition of a prehistoric monumental site"
Key-words: Mud-brick architecture conservation; communication; Arslantepe.
The paper will present the pioneering project of conservation and exhibition of the 4 th millennium
palatial complex at Arslantepe-Malatya, which has been recently realized (in May 2011) in the form
of an open air museum. The protection of the monumental buildings in mud-bricks, with walls
standing for more than 2 m., the still preserved original white plaster, in some places decorated with
wall paintings, has been an ambitious and difficult task, combined with a thorough study aimed at
exhibiting in a proper way what these unique monuments tell us of the history of humankind,
sharing the main achievements of the scientific research with a vast public. The main purpose
therefore was not only to protect and illustrate this extraordinary architecture, but also to make
people conscious of what these buildings, and the materials found in them, may represent for the
understanding of the formation process of an early State society, in other words the foundations of
modern society.
The project has been characterised by four main purposes: 1) not to damage the underlying
structures and levels; 2) to protect the structures from water and humidity and any other climatic
stress; 3) to create a correct perception of the monument as it was; 4) to transmit a correct and
effective message to the public, leading the visitors to perceive and understand the new historical
and anthropological knowledge achieved in the site through a long lasting archaeological work.