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Islahiye |

The valley of Islahiye.

Historical landscapes in a natural corridor in South-Eastern Turkey

P r o j e c t .

The valley of Islahiye

The valley of Islahiye follows a North-South fault line between two mountain ranges, the Amanus to the West and the Kurt Dağ to the East and it connects south-eastern Anatolia with northern Syria and – in spots – the plateau West of the Euphrates with Cilicia. Its central area (i.e. its sections of the Islahiye and Nurdağı administrative districts within Gaziantep province) has been studied in some detail during recent years and this web project accounts for those preliminary results. The many mounds of the valley, of which a dozen or so have been excavated or at least probed, and the many newly retrieved sites and monuments in the last decade should be studied on the ground in the next future systematically, also in order to connect them to the results produced by neighboring projects such as the AVRP and create the necessary documentation base of the territorial continuum in view of the detailed understanding of the urbanization processes of the Northern Levant, increasingly made possible through tools such as the CRANE project.

The Islahiye Valley Project

In the framework of the archaeological excavations carried out by B. U. Alkım between 1955 and 1972 in the valley of Islahiye, in the years 1958 to 1960 he also made a systematic survey there. Building upon the scientific data collected at that time, a joint Turco-Italian project by the Universities of Bologna and Istanbul and the Museum of Gaziantep was implemented between 2003 and 2010 in the area, with the excavations first at Tilmen Höyük until 2008 and then the salvage project at Taşlı Geçit Höyük until 2010. Our approach included the study of ancient landscapes and we soon became, necessarily, entangled in a web of relationships with people and places within the valley, shaping our perception of a shared environment from antiquity to the present without discontinuities. Our territorial interests are incorporated here into the IVP and we have gladly found that the neighboring expedition at Zincirli Höyük by the University of Chicago led by David Schloen was set on a similar tune.

The Website

The current website – actually a work in progress – presents in a scientifically complete fashion the elaborations and studies carried out for characterizing the landscape of the valley of Islahiye, supplying the scholarly community with an elaborate tool of unprecedented precision. We will continue updating the website, branching from the OrientGIS project, not only with new layers but also through galleries of images and other data useful for the reconstruction of settlement patterns, geomorphological changes and differing soil exploitation patterns through time.




We at the IVP believe in open access and sharing of scientific information: this website is about calling for a cooperation among scholars to explore and visualize our models on a historical landscape for which we do possess significant archaeological data. We do believe in networked science, in contrasting our differing views on the past with the aim of refining our understanding of social and economic processes. Engagement means believing in the value of digital outputs, of sharing ideas, of open discussions: for this reason, we are looking forward to cooperating with all scholars willing to confer – with due credit – their own materials and elaborations on the Islahiye valley to this website so that it becomes an open forum and a place in which experimenting different methodological approaches for the study of man-environment interaction.

OrientGIS map.



The Islahiye Valley Project is directed by Nicolò Marchetti of the Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, jointly with Refik Duru of Istanbul University. Archival holdings of the expeditions at Tilmen Höyük of the Universities of Istanbul and of Bologna have been the basis for the project and have been georeferenced by the IVP team. David Schloen of the University of Chicago provided additional materials in a spirit of scientific cooperation. 

We gratefully acknowledge the CRANE 2.0 project for having provided the server on which our webGIS is running. Fairly soon, the materials presented in the website will be made individually available respecting their licensing agreement (all our original elaborations are the copyleft of the Islahiye Valley Project).

 All individual and corporate credits will be listed under each image, with – where of interest – some technical explanations attached too. Satellite imagery and cartographic materials have been downloaded or purchased and then elaborated or modified by Valentina Orrù and by the team of the DICAM Department in Bologna, led by Gabriele Bitelli. News about the updates for metadata and additional functions will be listed in the Feeds section of the website.

The website has been conceived by Nicolò Marchetti (Scientific Editor), with Silvano Bertossa (Web Engineer) setting up the server through PostgreSQL and  GeoServer including the current Leaflet tool for the WebGIS and Valentina Orrù (Web designer and Webmaster) editing and managing the Islahiye Valley WebGIS.

B i b l i o g r a p h y.

N. Marchetti (ed.), Kinku. Sigilli dell’età del Bronzo dalla regione di Gaziantep in Turchia, Dipartimento di Archeologia-Ante Quem, Bologna. 

R. Duru, Excavations at Tilmen Höyük I. Tilmen Höyük Kazıları I, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2013.

Excavation reports on Tilmen Höyük.

R. Duru, Gedikli Karahöyük I-II. The Results of Excavations Directed by Prof. U. Bahadır Alkım in the Years 1964-1967. Prof. U. Bahadır Alkım’ın yönetiminde 1964-1967 yıllarında yapılan kazıların sonuçları, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara 2006 and 2010.

GRPOP series on Tilmen Höyük. 

Excavation reports on Zincirli Höyük and the region.