Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cultic City And Fortress Unearthed In Southern Turkey


ScienceDaily (Nov. 5, 2007) — New excavations conducted by the University of Tübingen (Germany) and the Onsekiz Mart University of Çanakkale (Turkey) at the site of Sirkeli Höyük near Adana (southern Turkey) have revealed the remains of a massive bastion fortification dating to the Hittite Imperial Period (ca. 1300 BC). Sirkeli Höyük, one of the largest settlement mounds in Cilicia during the Bronze- and Iron Ages, was already known to archaeologists and historians because of two Hittite rock reliefs located at the site.
The better preserved rock relief of the two shows the Hittite King Muwatalli II (ca. 1290–1272 BC), opponent of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the famous Battle of Qadesh in Syria and is thus the oldest Hittite rock relief known so far.
On the upside of the rock, just above the reliefs, various shallow pits or basins are found which apparently are to be connected with the reliefs and were used for libations in the course of cultic activities.
These pits were part of a larger cultic installation which also included a building to the west of the rock reliefs. This ensemble is thought to be a cultic installation for the Hittite King.
Excavations at the site were conducted between 1992-1997 by the Universities of Munich and Innsbruck. In 2006 excavations were resumed by the University of Tübingen and the University of Çanakkale. The project and its organization are based at the Institute of Near Eastern Archaeology and Assyriology at the University of Tübingen. The Institute of Prehistorical Archaeology and the Institute of Classical Archaeology are associated with the project.
At the University of Çanakkale the project is based at the Institute of Prehistorical Archaeology, Near Eastern Archaeology and Classical Archaeology. The project is carried out under the patronage of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.
In the course of the first two campaigns conducted in 2006 and 2007 the massive fortification bastion in the north-western part of the city was excavated. Finds made within the complex show that the building was constructed during the Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.) and apparently modified and re-used during the Iron Age (1200-600 B.C.). Later, the surrounding area of the mound was occupied by Hellenistic buildings. The finds reveal that the site was engaged in cultural exchange and trade with the Levant, the Aegean and different regions of Anatolia in the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C.
The site of Sirkeli Höyük may possibly also be identified with the ancient cultic city of Lawazantiya which is known to have been the home town of Hittite Queen Puduhepa, wife of King Hattusili III (ca. 1265-1240 B.C.).
Adapted from materials provided by Tuebingen University.

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