Gygaia Projects is a cooperative organization of activities concerned with research and education in the areas of culture, the natural environment, and community building. It aims to build collaborative partnerships to promote the active production of knowledge, the sustainable management of cultural and natural heritage resources, and community developments that foster long-term US–Turkish interactions. Project activities focus on the basin of Lake Marmara, in the districts of Gölmarmara and Salihli, province of Manisa, western Turkey, with a field laboratory in the village of Tekelioğlu. Offices are in the Departments of Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University, Istanbul, and Archaeology at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Cultural initiatives aim to document and help preserve the cultural traditions of the Marmara Lake basin of the Gediz Valley in western Turkey from the Paleolithic to the present. Archaeological fieldwork under the Central Lydia Archaeological Survey (CLAS) and the Kaymakçı Archaeological Project (KAP) explores human-environmental interactions from the deep past through the early 20th century, while regional ethnography and oral histories of the recent past and present provide contexts for long-term landscape histories.
A focus on the natural environment includes primary interests in water and its management, ecological habitats and their preservation, and environmental regimes and their human responses. Understanding present conditions and long-term changes in each of these areas encourages responsible agricultural practices and wise-use paradigms of land and water management that ensure the sustainability of rich ecological habitats.
Gygaia Projects aims to build local, regional, and international human infrastructures – communities – that further its primary cultural and natural aims and provide guidance and models for wise-use of the living landscapes of the Marmara Lake basin within the contexts of both Turkish and international policies concerning cultural and natural heritage preservation and presentation.