The Gediz valley of modern, western Turkey is a major gateway linking the Aegean spheres with the central Anatolian plateau. The making of cultural heritage in Anatolia plays out in very different ways depending on the physical location of the community and the level of implementation of the post-1923 social- and political-engineering agendas of the authorities of the Republic of Turkey. In this case-study we analyse one community, a village of just under 200 people known as Hacıveliler in the Marmara Lake basin of the Gediz valley in western Turkey (province of Manisa). We explore how this community continues to (re)define its heritage (from the 19th century to the present day) in light of contemporary policies. The approach combines historiographical, archaeological, preservation and ethnographical datasets.