Özdoğan, Mehmet (Celal) (b. May 30, 1943, Istanbul), archaeologist known for his prehistorical archaeology work in the Marmara Region. He received the Vehbi Koç Award in 2008.
Özdoğan graduated from Robert College in 1963 and Istanbul University Faculty of Letters Department of Prehistory in 1969. Due to a lack of vacant staff positions in the department, he began to work as an “honorary assistant” in 1970 and completed his doctorate with a dissertation titled, “Fikirtepe” in 1979. In 1994, he became a professor of prehistory at the same faculty, and continued to teach there until his retirement in 2010.
At the beginning of his career, he worked on archaeological excavations at Çayönü (Batman) and Middle East Technical University’s Keban and Lower Euphrates projects, where he developed a new model of surface investigation and explored the spread of the first farming communities from Anatolia to Southeast Europe. He played a role in the formation of the Turkish Academy of Sciences Cultural Sector and Cultural Inventory (TÜBA-TÜKSEK). His excavation work in the Marmara Region, especially at the Yarımburgaz Cave (Istanbul), Tilkiburnu and Taşlıcabayır (Kırklareli), and Pendik (Pendik) Neolithic period. His work in Toptepe (Tekirdağ) and Hocaçeşme (Edirne) shed light on the prehistoric cultures of the region. These excavations showed that cultural communication between Anatolian and Balkan cultures was not just limited to migration, but also included cultural adaptation and exchanges of knowledge.
Additionally, Professor Özdoğan focused on the historical development of archeology as a discipline, the establishment of archeological policies and the approach to “cultural heritage management” necessary to pass this on to society. During the course of this work, he initiated a new platform within international archaeological bodies and study groups, which facilitated discussion about the place of Turkish archaeology within world archaeology.
Prof. Özdoğan, who was an elected member of TÜBA (2002-11), the Science Academy (2011) and the US National Academy of Sciences (2005), received the TÜBA Service Award in 2011. In 2008, he received the Vehbi Koç Award for culture in recognition of his “contribution to the field of prehistorical archaeology in the Marmara Region.”
Professor Özdoğan's chief works include: Aşağı Fırat Havzası 1977 Yüzey Araştırmaları (Lower Euphrates Basin 1977 Survey; 1977), Neolithic in Turkey (1999), Türk Arkeolojisinin Sorunları ve Koruma Politikaları (Problems and Conservation Policies in Turkish Archaeology; 2001) Güneydoğu Anadolu’nun Kültür Tarihindeki Yerine Farklı Bir Bakış (A Different View on the Place of Southeastern Anatolia in Cultural History; 2003), Arkeolojinin Politikası ve Politik Bir Araç Olarak Arkeoloji (Politics of Archaeology and Archaeology as a Political Tool; 2006), Batı Düşünce Sistemi İçinde Arkeolojinin Yeri ve 21. Yüzyılda Yeni Arayışlar (The Place of Archaeology in the Western Thought Systems and New Quests of the 21st Century; 2008) and Arkeolojik Kazılar: Bilimsel Çalışma mı? Toprak Hafriyatı mı? (Archaeological Excavations: Scientific Study or Earthworks?; 2011).