Communities of Archaeology - Supporting Humanitarian Aid in Turkey and Syria

By Lily Wichert

On February 6th, 2023, Turkey and Syria were shaken by two consecutive devastating earthquakes. As members of the ISAW-NYU community, we offer our condolences to the families of people, all people who have been impacted by this tragic event, and as archaeologists and scholars who both work and live within the impacted communities for extended periods of time we deeply empathize with the feelings of fear, grief and anger which this disaster has produced. We invite members of our extended ISAW community to come closer to the communities of archaeology hit by this disaster and support humanitarian aid.

Image shows damage from Collapse in Syria Collapse in Syria, Image from Tasnim News Agency, under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

At home, we the archaeologists-working-abroad present the discoveries, new research methods, and efforts to preserve new artifacts and sites related to foreign worlds distant in time or physical space to our communities. The months devoted to fieldwork abroad every year, often in the same place, produce yet another defining element of our work: the interaction with officials, workers, dealers, and shopkeepers, neighbors, authorities, and students. Some of them we meet sporadically, with some of them we work daily under the sun or rain, at neighboring desks, sharing materials. With them, we build our communities of archaeology, which gives greater meaning to our work activity, and even to the antiquities and cultural heritage we present back here at home. Overshadowed by a colonial past and it's not-always-perceived remaining practices, if serious, archaeologists-working-abroad embody direct contact between geographically distant communities, bridging a gap with the results of our work, a cultural discourse, but even more with the everyday physical experience emerging from our own work. For these reasons, we are reaching out to our larger community to ask that you join us in taking action to support the communities hit by this disaster.

Image shows members of the Kınık Höyük Archaeological Project (TR) Image of the Kınık Höyük Archaeological Project (TR)

Initiatives in support of communities hit by the earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria (as of 02/12/2023)

1) Events to increase awareness of the endangered communities, and aid their support

- Benefit gathering: Tragedy in Turkey and Syria Sunday, Feb 12, at 4 pm at the Sancar Turkish Culture & Community Center, 1609 E Franklin St., Chapel Hill. (associated with the NGO Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF), a NC nonprofit established in the wake of the 1999 earthquakes)

- Benefit performance: Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: Mozart Requiem for Turkey and Syria, Amadeus Orchestra, Sunday 19 at 3 pm at the Advent Lutheran Church, 2504 Broadway New York, NY 10025 Tickets at: 

2) Fund-raising initiatives targeting fieldwork-connected communities. 

- Zincirli - Fevzipaşa - İslahiye disaster relief organized by V. Hermann member of the archaeological project at Zincirli Höyük: Fundraiser by Virginia Herrmann : Zincirli - Fevzipaşa - İslahiye disaster relief (

- Tayinat Community Disaster Relief Fund organized by T. Harrison member of the archaeological project at Tell Tayınat: Fundraiser by Timothy Harrison : Tayinat Community Disaster Relief Fund (

- Tell Atchana Earthquake Disaster Relief, organized by H. Maloigne member of the archaeological project at Tell Atchana: Fundraiser by Helene Maloigne : Tell Atchana Earthquake Disaster Relief ( 

- Disaster Relief for Karahüyük Community (Hatay), organized by Fokke Gerritsen member of the Tell Kurdu excavations team. Fundraiser by Fokke Gerritsen : Disaster Relief for Karahüyük Community (Hatay) (

- Disaster relief for the Arslantepe Community (Malatya), organized by Marcella Frangipane, member of the Arslantepe excavations team. Arslantepe_Project on Instagram: “Dear Arslantepe friends, As you know, the earthquakes of February 6 have dramatically hit the city of Malatya and the village of Orduzu…”

As more initiatives are developed, they will be listed and accessible on this spreadsheet: Archaeological Communities Earthquake Support - Syria and Turkey - Google Sheets

 3) Fundraising initiatives for support of the broader communities in Syria and Turkey:

The US Department of State has released two days ago a Statement of Assistance to Emergency Response in Turkey and Syria:

A large overview of all current initiatives with indication of the target and rating info can be found here:

Selected below are some of the most active and larger NGOs, operating both in Syria and in Turkey:

- GlobalGiving has selected, monitors and supports a number of emergency response projects in Syrian and Turkey Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund - GlobalGiving

- UNICEF is active in Turkey as well as in Syria, targeting humanitarian support to children and families in both countries: (NYT)

- Save the Children operates in both Turkey and Syria, targeting humanitarian support to children and families in both countries: (NYT)

- Doctors without Borders provide independent, impartial medical humanitarian assistance to the people in the regions hit by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey: Home | Doctors Without Borders - USA

- CARE provides emergency aid to the population hit by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey: Turkey and Syria Earthquake Emergency (

- OXFAM organizing logistiscs for mid-term intervention in Turkey and Syria: Donate now | Oxfam (

For a general overview, you may consult the American Coalition for Syria and Syrian American Council list:

Selected below are some of the most active and larger NGOs, operating in Syria:

- SAMS is a Syrian American medical relief organization with hospital and emergency structures in Hama, Idlib, Aleppo, Gaziantep and other cities hit by the earthquake:


- Syrian Forum USA: 

- Syrian Emergency Task Force: 

- Rahma Worldwide: 

- Swasia Charity Foundation: 

- Mercy Without Limits: 

- Sunrise USA 

- NuDay Syria: 

Selected here below are some of the most relevant governmental      initiatives and most active and independent NGOs, operating in Turkey:

- AFAD, Earthquake Humanitarian Aid Campaign by the Turkish Ministry of Interior, Disaster and Emergency Presidency: 

- Ahbap is a charity active in the provinces hit by the earthquake:

- AKUT Rescue Association, an ONG operative in the devastated provinces: 

- Bridge to Türkiye: 

- IBC, International Blue Crescent, active in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Hatay:  

- Turkish Cultural Center NYC in support of the victims of the earthquake in southern Turkey: 

- Turkish Philanthropy Fund: 


As written by the Guardian: “Never provide personal details, bank account information, or other information without verifying the organization or individual collecting donations. Charity monitoring platforms such as, and provide analysis on charities asking for donations, including what amount of donations go to operational costs versus providing direct relief. Prospective donors are encouraged to report any charities suspected of committing fraud to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud. 

Sites added to the lists above have been double checked through, but issues of logistics and goals remain often beyond first-sight control. A particularly challenging issue concerns Syria, for which it is often difficult to ascertain which specific area of Syria is targeted. The Syrian communities  living in the areas currently under control by the government in Damascus are particularly difficult to reach due to the current conflict (see however the statement of the US department reported above). 

4) Donations in kind, for Turkey 

- Turkish Embassy in DC collects in kind donations - coats, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, etc - that they will fly out on a THY plane: 

- Turkish Consulate in Chicago collects in kind donations to be sent through THY:

- Turkish Consulate in NYC collects in kind donations to be sent through THY: 


The ISAW-NYU Communities of Archaeology Group