Istanbul's buried Byzantine history under spotlight in Symposium


Istanbul will host experts on Byzantine studies from around the world next week when the Koc University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) opens the third edition of its International Sevgi Gonul Byzantine Studies Symposium on Monday. Set to run from June 24-27, the four-day event will be held under the overall theme of "Byzantine trade" and will focus on the era stretching from the late antique period through the 15th century, the research center announced in a press release issued last week. Organized in memory of late Sevgi Gonul (1938-2003), the daughter of the well-known late Turkish businessman Vehbi Koc, the International Sevgi Gonul Byzantine Studies Symposium is held every three years by the Vehbi Koc Foundation. This year's symposium will look at new information that has been gathered and perspectives that have emerged in light of recent archaeological discoveries and re-reading of written sources in the study of trade in the Byzantine world, particularly highlighted by ongoing work on archaeological findings from Marmaray excavations at Istanbul's Yenikapi, Sirkeci and Uskudar quarters. Topics include "Constantinople and provincial cities as centers of commercial activity," "Monks, pilgrims, diplomats and soldiers as agents of trade," and "Trade regulations and financial policies of the Byzantine State," the research center said. Sidebar events include two exhibitions: the Istanbul Archaeology Museum will showcase a selection of sunken artifacts discovered in Yenikapi in a show titled "Sakli Liman'dan Hikayeler: Yenikapi Batiklari" (Stories from the Buried Pier), which will open on Monday and run until early 2014, while the RCAC will host "Picturing Byzantine Istanbul: The Photographic Puzzle of Nicholas V. Artamonoff (1908-1989)," featuring a selection of archive photos taken in Istanbul during the 1930s by the Russian amateur photographer Artamonoff, from June 25 through Oct. 6.