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Headshot of Ece Erlat

Graduate Student

Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Arbuckle

About Ece

I am interested in understanding diverse perceptions of archaeology among K-12 teachers and students. Through my research, I aim to promote collaborative approaches in archaeological heritage education for younger generations in rural Turkey.

Since 2019, I am advocating for community input in stakeholder development and heritage education initiatives. These initiatives range from documenting Late Byzantine heritage destruction with residents of Ayvansaray, Istanbul, to experimenting with social media outreach with local high school students in Gordion, and collaboratively designing digital learning materials with local middle school teachers and students in Sardis.

Before beginning my PhD in Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill, I worked as a high school Humanities teacher, assisted digital education and community engagement projects of various museums and collections in the U.S., and volunteered for World Heritage USA-ICOMOS.

Research Interests

Community-Based Participatory Research, Archaeological Ethics, Digital Archaeology, Archaeological Pedagogy, K-12 Outreach, Turkey, Mediterranean, Near East

Research Background

My research examines how decolonial methodology and theories can be applied and adapted to the Mediterranean and Near Eastern contexts. Decolonial archaeology provide a theoretical framework for understanding the epistemic indigeneity local students and teachers navigate daily while living near archaeological sites in Turkey. Methodologically, I focus on using co-creative, participatory, and collaborative approaches, alongside an interest in quantitative techniques for evaluating heritage education programs.


MA, Cornell University, 2022 ; BA, Koç University, 2019


Erlat, E. and Luke Hollis (2024, June 8). “Teacher Engagement and AR in Sardis.” [Oral Presentation]. Archaeological Exploration of Sardis 2024 Field Season Seminar.

Erlat, E. (2023, March 29 – April 3). “Applying Community Archaeology in Turkey: The Sardis Case.” [Poster Presentation]. 88th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeologists (SAA).