Re-opening of Göbekli Tepe announced for July this year.

Since last June the archaeological site of Göbekli Tepe is closed to visitors due to the construction of two permanent shelters above the excavated areas at Göbekli Tepe’s south-eastern and north-western hollows (see here). Originally, completion of this work was scheduled for the end of last year, but construction work took longer than expected and the excavation still remains closed.

Meanwhile work made good progress and shelter construction is moving forward. In a recently published note, the Turkish General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums announced that the site will be closed until mid-July 2017 [external link].

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Shelter construction at Göbekli Tepe, work in progress. (Photo: H. Yildiz)

As reported in various Turkish media, Şanlıurfa Culture and Tourism Director Aydın Aslan stated that the site is meant be re-opened to public visitors this summer again (here quoted from arkeofili.com [external link], translated):

“As of July 15 2017, the shelter constructions will be completed and the site opened to visitors again. All work is carried out to balance preservation and further study of Göbekli Tepe. Our primary concern is its protection and Göbekli Tepe could be preserve best. The superstructure shelters cost about 600,000 Euros, funded by the Turkish State and the European Union. Concluding, we think it is important work for the preservation and accessibility of Göbekli Tepe minimising damage in the future.”

It is our pleasure having the chance to contribute to this work and help offering visitors the chance to return to Göbekli Tepe and experience the early Neolithic monuments again as soon as possible.

Update 02.08.2017: Unfortunately the shelters are still under construction as of yet and the site remains closed to public visitors for the moment. Hopefully all work will be finished and the site re-opened later that year in autumn.

Site closed to visitors until end of the year

Update: Completion of both canopies was slightly delayed and could not be achieved by the end of 2016 – the site remains closed to visitors as of yet; as soon as an official new opening date is announced, it will be made public here as well.

Long in planning, construction of two permanent shelters above the excavated areas at Göbekli Tepe’s south-eastern and north-western depressions are finally about to start as the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism was announcing [external link]. These roofs will not only significantly contribute to the protection of the archaeological substance, but also make accessibility for visitors easier, providing an increased experience of the early Neolithic architecture. For us archaeologists working on site it also opens up improved conditions to carefully excavate rather sensitive features independent of changing weather conditions.

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Design of the membrane canopy in so-called Main Excavation Area (Visualisation: kleyer.koblitz.letzel.freivogel).

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Underneath the membrane canopy above Enclosure D (Visualisation: kleyer.koblitz.letzel.freivogel).

As just announced, the site would be closed for visitors between June 13 and December 31 of this year (i.e. 2016). Şanlıurfa’s Haleplibahçe Museum [external link] however, will still be open welcoming visitors during this period. It houses a larger number of finds from Göbekli Tepe and other Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites of the region and even offers the chance to enter a 1:1 replica of Göbekli Tepe’s Enclosure D, the so far largest and best preserved of the monumental enclosure to characteristic for the site.

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An accessible 1:1 replica of Enclosure D can be visited in Urfa’s archaeological museum (Photo: J. Notroff).

Shelters were designed by EiSat GmbH, Berlin [external link] and kleyer.kobltz.letzel.freivogel Architekten [external link]. The contracting authority is the Turkish Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. The project is financed by the European Union.

Further Reading
“Membran-Schutzdach für Göbekli Tepe, Türkei” [external link] – project description by EiSat GmbH for the first shelter.

“Schutzdach 2 für die Ausgrabungen am Göbekli Tepe, Türkei” [external link] – project description by EiSat GmbH for the second shelter.

L. Clare, O. Dietrich, J. Notroff, Die Arbeiten der Jahre 2014 (Herbst) und 2015 [external link], e-Forschungsberichte des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 3/2015, 149-151.