The Doodle of today celebrates Dr. Jale Nan, the first female archaeologist in Turkey. The Farnese Hercules monument’s missing half was notably discovered by her at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and she collaborated with the government to get the statue returned to Turkey. On this day in 2011, the statue’s return was successfully completed.
In 1914, Nan was born in Istanbul. One of Turkey’s first archaeologists was her father, the director of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. He sparked her curiosity for history.
She received scholarships in the 1930s to further her studies in archaeology at the universities of Berlin and Munich. Sadly for Nan, the outbreak of World War II happened not long after she arrived in Germany. She never let the conflict going on around her distract her from her studies. She remained throughout the conflict and completed her thesis from a bunker in 1943 titled “Examination of Art History in Sacrifice Rituals on Roman Coins.”
She returned to Turkey after receiving her PhD and started working as an assistant for the University of Istanbul’s Chair of Ancient History and Numismatics. She participated in an excavation in Perga, an ancient Greek city in Anatolia, where she helped uncover The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Temple of Apollo in Side is one of the important old cultural sites that Nan later oversaw the restoration of. She unearthed so many items over the course of her lengthy career that the Antalya Museum had to expand twice in order to hold the treasures.
The Dr. Jale Ali Award is given annually by the Antalya Women’s Museum to a notable Turkish woman maintaining her legacy.