Karkemish, Gaziantep (Turkey) Turkish-Italian

Archaeological Mission in Karkemish

Coordinator/Mission Manager

Nicolò Marchetti

Field of research and classifications

Archaeological disciplines from prehistory to the medieval age

VRA: area 10

ERC: SH 6, The study of the human past: archaeology, history and memory

SDGs: 4) Quality education; 11) Sustainable cities and communities; 17) Partnerships for goals.

Prevalent type of public engagement

Knowledge co-production initiatives; projects to valorise/promote the local area.


The main aim of the archaeological research mission at Karkemish is to understand the site’s history over the course of its uninterrupted occupational sequence, extending from the Chalcolithic (5th millennium B.C.) to the early Islamic period (10th century A.D.). In particular, the main phases that have been investigated are the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age when the city played a major political role in the Levant. The chief archaeological activities include the extensive excavation of significant parts of the site and the documentation and study of material and environmental evidence.

Since 2019, the creation of an archaeological park has enabled tourists to visit the site through guided tours and information panels recounting the ancient and recent history of Karkemish.

Locations and periods

The excavations of the Turkish-Italian mission at Karkamış Höyük (36°49’46.36 "N, 38°0’59.26 "E) take place in the portion of the site (60 ha) that belongs to the territory of the Republic of Turkey (over one third of the site extends into Syria). The archaeological investigations, which began in 2011, take place every year alternately in summer (May-July) or autumn (September-November).

Collaborations and partners

Since its launch in 2011, the project has been coordinated by the University of Bologna (Department of History and Cultures) in collaboration with the University of Istanbul (Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures) and Gaziantep (Faculty of Architecture), with numerous Italian and Turkish students and archaeologists participating in research activities on the site.

The University of Bologna, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (DGSP OFFICE VI), the Ministry of Universities and Research (PRIN Programme), the Metropolitan Municipality of Gaziantep and Sanko Holding provided ongoing financial support.

Objectives and Engaged Audiences

The main objectives of the archaeological research conducted at Karkemish include fully understanding the occupation phases of the site and its material culture, studying the bioarchaeological evidence, and creating and managing an archaeological park designed to make the site accessible to the most visitors possible: these include not only members of the scientific and academic community and tourists, but also the communities living near the site who are the real and main users and beneficiaries of the conservation and promotion activities.

Target audiences: citizens (adults, but also children and adolescents), schools (students and teachers), heritage professionals.

Impact and Evaluation Tools

The continuity of archaeological research in Karkemish from 2011 to the present has led to the participation of numerous students from UNIBO and other partner universities, giving them the opportunity to experience excavation and study materials. In addition, the collaboration of numerous inhabitants as workers in the excavation and creation of the archaeological park has led to the involvement of communities living near or around the site, making it a point of interest for the Gaziantep region not only culturally but also economically.

As for the dissemination of results, publications include 5 monographs and dozens of scientific and popular articles written to outline the  workings and results of archaeological research in Karkemish.

The more than 10 years of archaeological research carried out at the site have led to a thorough understanding of the urban planning and monumental structures of ancient Karkemish, particularly for the Late Bronze and Iron Age phases, as evidenced by numerous publications presenting the results of the excavations.

The archaeological research and valorisation of the site by creating the archaeological park are the fruit of ongoing interest on the part of institutions such as MAECI and the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality.


Karkemish, Turkey, Euphrates, archaeological research, archaeological park