Communities construct themselves differently, depending on the diverse socio-political environments which they inhabit. This also impacts their worldviews and their perceptions of heritage. In addition, in nation states such as Turkey, heritage perceptions are shaped by state ideology through formal education, which often transfers one-sided and programmatic knowledge to students, mostly focusing on the official history of the state. As a result, communities are deprived of opportunities to learn about ‘other’ pasts, such as those concerned with prehistory and minorities in antiquity. Community archaeology projects and local museums hold an important role in closing the gap created by formal education methods, and can have a profound impact on community perceptions of the past. At the same time, the exchange of knowledge with communities can be troublesome. This article examines heritage perceptions and discusses the importance of public archaeology and local museums by comparing three different sites and their associated communities.

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