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Artifacts lost in museum of Heracles in Antalya

September 10, 2020 | In the Press

From Daily News (https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/artifacts-lost-in-museum-of-heracles-in-antalya-158113)

An investigation has been launched into lost artifacts reported in the Antalya Archeology Museum, which is home to the world-famous Weary Heracles statue.

The museum is considered among the most important museums in the world with a rich collection from the Lower Paleolithic Age to the Roman Period.

The series of events began with the dismissal of the museum’s director, Mustafa Demirel. The Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism determined that more than one important artifact went missing during an incomplete inventory control, risk updating, classification and photographing that started in 2018.

Upon this determination, Antalya Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Ibrahim Acar informed the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums about the lost artifacts through a secret document procedure, and the general directorate assigned an investigator.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Gökhan Yazgi, the general manager of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums, said, “We are following all the details of the claims against the Antalya Museum, which is home to very important artifacts.”

Confirming that an investigator was appointed to determine whether there were any missing artifacts in the museum, the deputy general manager of the museum, Yahya Çoskun, said: “Routine counts are made at the end of each year in our museums. In addition, the artifacts are entrusted to experts. When they retire or start working elsewhere, the artifacts are entrusted to other people. The Antalya Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate made some determinations. Some works were reported to be missing. We immediately assigned an investigator for this. The investigator will prepare a report. We will take measures in line with the report. The museum is affiliated with us through the Provincial Directorate. It found some deficiencies in its control, too, and informed us about it.”

Mustafa Demirel, the former Director of Antalya Museum, who was dismissed, said, “I don’t know about the investigation. I am on leave now. If any information is requested from me, I will do whatever is necessary,” he said.

Turkey’s culture storage

The Antalya Museum, which received the European Council Museum of the Year Award in 1988, consists of 14 exhibition halls on an area of 30,000 square meters, open-air galleries, where sculptures and various works are exhibited, and a garden.

The museum is considered to be among the most important museums in the world, especially with its Roman-era sculptures found in Perge and interesting and unique finds unearthed from museum rescue excavations in recent years. In the museum, which also has a gallery where an ethnography collection reflecting the Ottoman culture is exhibited, the natural history and prehistory collection, god and empire sculptures are among the works to be seen.

The Weary Heracles statue, the top half of a 1,800-year-old Roman sculpture of the mythological hero Heracles that was repatriated to Turkey from a Boston museum in the United States after 30 years abroad, is also on display at the Antalya Museum.

The top half of the Weary Heracles, which was smuggled from the ancient city of Perge in Antalya, was attached to its other part at the museum. The lower half of the Heracles sculpture was found during excavations in the 1980s by Professor Jale Inan and the top half attracted the attention of journalist Özgen Özer at an exhibition abroad, after which the campaign to repatriate the statue began.

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