Saturday, 27 August 2011

I decided to officially archive this blog on the day my DPhil was confirmed. But I have waited for the electronic publication of my thesis, Interrogating Archaeological Ethics in Conflict Zones: Cultural Heritage Work in Cyprus, to announce the archiving. From now on, I will blog at Conflict Antiquities.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Puneyn: warred village, resettled

[Thanks to Dave S's comment on the Evretou photo blog, I will try to give each site photo blog a proper introduction; until then, I'll cross-post the introductory posts from Cultural Heritage in Conflict (or samarkeolog).]

In my fieldwork notes, I recorded that,
Puneyn or Püneyn... was evacuated in 1993, but only destroyed five years later in 1998; it, too, has been resettled.
I've completed my personal page on the last of the resettled, warred villages I was able to visit in northern Kurdistan/south-eastern Turkey, Puneyn: cultural heritage and community, which comprises photographs, descriptions and some observations on the nature of the material and its implications for the study of Cypriot "abandoned villages" in my work.

[This was originally posted on samarkeolog on 18th June 2007.]

Monday, 18 June 2007

Puneyn buildings 12: the homes on the left used to have neighbours on their right, but those neighbours, those neighbourhoods, were lost when the Turkish military destroyed them.
Puneyn buildings 11: the walls of these destroyed homes are already being overgrown and, after sufficient erosion of them and of hill materials down onto and over them, they will disappear into its slope, in a process of natural assimilation.
Puneyn buildings 10b: on many of these villages' hillsides are spreads of stone like those seen inside this former home; they were the stones of other former homes more completely destroyed. The most important thing to note here is that, in places where the entire village was more completely destroyed, places become unidentifiable as the sites of former villages, mere spaces with spreads of stone over them, that couldn't definitely be identified as former homes, sites of and evidence of domicide, ethnic cleansing.
Puneyn buildings 10a: the interior and exterior of this ruined building are indistinguishable, apart from the fact that the walls enclosing the interior are still standing (and possibly that the interior is higher and more stoney because of fallen-in material); at the near side, the build-up of soil is almost at the lip of the standing wall and will soon run over and begin to bury it.

The home between the ruins visible in Puneyn buildings 10 and 10b displays the wooden-framed, earth/turf roof that would have once spanned the tops of both ruins and that would have quickly transformed into grassland. It is only the stone walls that maintain the building's identity, so when they are destroyed completely, as they are elsewhere, it may easily become impossible to identify places where whole villages once stood.
Puneyn buildings 9: one wall may be seen running from the centre of the far right side of the photograph forwards towards the bottom left corner; it is still clearly visible and identifiable, but two parallel soil banks can be seen behind it and they were both walls, years ago, until their destruction by the Turkish military. In a few years' time, it will look like they do now and they will be entirely unrecognisable without local or professional knowledge or scientific investigation.
Puneyn buildings 8b: in front lies a stash of stone (for building?); behind, lies a profile of the wall on the left of Puneyn buildings 8a, which reveals the many phases of the wall's construction, including the bricking-on of a doorway (in the centre of the photograph).
Puneyn buildings 8a: this photograph captures the initial spill of stones from the wall on the left and the mound they form, as grass begins to consolidate their position and grown over them; the near wall of the building in the distance in the centre appears to have had a lot of soil used in its construction, which would explain the rapid development of grassy mounds covering and disguising the destroyed materials.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Puneyn building 7: even when the few remains are still visible and identifiable, with the people and their presence erased from the landscape, their memory, like their presence if they were displaced or their bodies if they were killed, becomes "missing". No longer a part of everyday experience, their home becomes a non-presence, an absence, which isn't even attended to, the resettled community living and working around it.

Puneyn building 6: their surface already covered with grasses, a few inches more soil and these foundations' edges will be lost completely, the only material evidence of the home's destruction invisible without geophysical archaeological survey or excavation. The stones and wooden logs and branches stored around this site contribute to its developing invisibility.
Puneyn buildings 5: in front are the foundations of an old home destroyed by the Turkish military, which are now so overgrown that the resettled community's poultry has them as a feeding ground; I don't know whether the run of stones from its right corner off the right side of the photograph were from a wall, but I suspect that they formed a path to the house's entrance.

Behind that are the standing remains of an old stone-built home; if you can imagine soil hillocks following that form (four hillocks, one over each of the corners, perhaps a fifth in the miccle if the structure collapsed inwards), you can imagine what the remains of some of the completely concealed sites, like the old town of Van, looked like before they were concealed.

Those standing remains are still attached to the (I think) two remaining old stone buildings, which show how they would have appeared before their destruction by the Turkish military. (On the far right is a newly-built house.)
Puneyn building 4: these foundations are now disguised partially by a pile of stones stored on top of them and partially by a spill or slope of soil running across them and down, which has now succeeded to grasses.
Puneyn building 3: the old foundations of this home, destroyed by the Turkish military, were going to be hidden by the spread of grasses; now, they will be disguised by the building of a new home on top of them instead.
Puneyn buildings 2b: in front are the ruins of two or more homes fallen to the Turkish military; immediately behind them is an old, standing stone-built home and behind that, a newly-built prefabricated concrete home; in the background, there's another old stone-built house.

As is visible in the foreground, between soil erosion and deposition and ecological colonisation and succession, these remains have disappeared or later will.
Puneyn buildings 2a: these remaining walls neatly demonstrate the stages of decomposition from standing building to ruin to he standing wall on the far left will later come to resemble (the few remaining courses of) that in the middle on the centre-right side, which will later come to resemble the scattered runs of stones, from centre-left to centre-right, where the standing wall on the far left used to continue.
Puneyn buildings 1: downhill erosion is destabilising, damaging and burying hillside ruins.