Contemporary Pasts of Archaeological Landscapes (CPAL) is an interdisciplinary project begun in 2019 that is addressing the interface between the material remains of the ancient past and modern settlement and land-use in the Konya region. Since 2016 KRASP has been systematically recording the impact of contemporary human activity on the archaeological landscape through our own site visits (figure 1), with satellite imagery (figure 2), and assessments of earlier publications. Approximately 90% of the sites that we have recorded in the field have been impacted by unsanctioned digging (looting), agriculture, roadwork, irrigation and construction. The vast majority of these have been recently looted (figure 3), with damage ranging from single looter pits to massive trenches dug with mechanised excavators. We have also recorded the re-use of architectural elements from ancient monumental buildings and tombs in villages across our study area. KRASP is committed to understanding these activities as part of the archaeological palimpsest of the Konya Plain.
In 2019 KRASP was joined by anthropologist Erol Sağlam (İstanbul Medeniyet University) and heritage researcher Hakan Tarhan (IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca, Italy) to form CPAL. The central claim of CPAL is that an integration of the methodologies and results of quantitative (archaeological) and qualitative (ethnographic) approaches and a dialogue between their respective ethical and methodological positions, within a framework of critical heritage research, is necessary towards long-term sustainable solutions for archaeological heritage. As a starting point and a survey, CPAL aims to investigate how different groups of people (stakeholders) in the Konya region interact with the material remains of the past, with implications for a range of relationships between different stakeholder interests in the archaeological landscapes of the Konya Plain.