2001-2003 University of Amsterdam

The twentieth of July 2001 was a most important and joyful day for the University of Amsterdam and the International Nemrud Foundation INF. The Council of Ministers of the Turkish Republic decided to grant permission to Professor Dr. Herman A. G. Brijder “to direct an archaeological excavation on the tumulus, the East and West Terraces of the Nemrud Dağı which is situated in Kâhta, the Province of Adıyaman, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Centre of the University of Amsterdam”.

Professor Herman Brijder was then the president of the department of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Amsterdam and director of the Archaeological Museum of the same university, the Allard Pierson Museum. He felt it as a great honour to be bestowed with the permission to carry out archaeological activities on such an important and prestigious monument. He expected much would come of the collaboration with INF.

He decided not to start with actual excavation activities for which he got the permission from the Council of Ministers of the Turkish Republic, but with the documentation of the site and all archaeological objects by means of the most advanced and up-to-date techniques (for example 3D-scan) and also the scientific preparations of the conservation of the limestone colossal statues and the sandstone reliefs and sculpture. This was in accordance with the INF objectives: the rescue of this outstanding and historically most important archaeological monument. Therefore a large team of internationally reputed experts was composed. The daily leadership of the work on the Nemrud Dağı was delegated to two of Brijder’s then staff members at the University of Amsterdam, Professor Dr. Eric M. Moormann and Ass. Prof Dr. Miguel John Versluys. However, Brijder was ultimately in charge of the project. So it happened that the international Nemrud Dağı Project NDP could start in July 2001.

The campaign results of 2001 were evaluated and discussed at two Round Table Conferences. The Round Table Conferences achieved consensus on a general plan for the conservation, restoration and tourism management of the monument: the NDP Master Plan. The NDP Master Plan was presented to the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry approved the NDP Master Plan (see NDP Master Plan 2001-2010). The Dutch government supported the international co-operation to save this World Heritage Monument in full (see Recomendation Letter Dutch Embassy).

The NDP Master Plan was scheduled to end in 2010. The first phases of the Master Plan were implemented in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The works were executed as a joint effort of major universities and international institutions. Due to this shared effort, the major threats to the Nemrud site have been addressed. Unfortunately, the University of Amsterdam and its partners did receive no reaction to the applications of 2004 and 2005, or to the letters inquiring about the status of the project (see Letter University Amsterdam to Ministry 1 September 2005).

The INF has proved to be an NGO capable of mobilizing the funding as well as the professionals and skills required for the job. INF obtained the required protocols and permits. Also, INF made the latest technology available to the project. The budget was financed by Akbank, Shell and Maurice Crijns of INF. ENKA supplied the heavy equipment, the Restoration House and provided for a highly skilled and professional team.