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ARCHAEOLOGY > Anatolia may be home to the earliest guitars

ÇORUM - Anatolia News Agency

The birthplace of the guitar is thought to be Spain, but a relief of a human figure playing a guitar, found during Alacahöyük excavations, hints that its history may date back to the Hittite period

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According to the reliefs on the rock, guitars existed 3,500 years ago in the Hittite period. Guitar teacher Osman Ünsal Taşçı (below) says the guitar was born in Anatolia. AA photo

According to the reliefs on the rock, guitars existed 3,500 years ago in the Hittite period. Guitar teacher Osman Ünsal Taşçı (below) says the guitar was born in Anatolia. AA photo

Researchers who found a rock dating back 3,500 years during excavations in Alacahöyük district of the central Anatolian province of Çorum have determined that an illustration on the rock resembles a guitar to a great extent.

The items unearthed in excavations have shown that the Hittites used musical instruments as well as percussion instruments for entertainment purposes, and among those instruments was the guitar, according to the reliefs on the rock. This shows that the history of guitar, which was originally believed to be developed by Spaniards, might date back to the Hittite period.

Oldest known guitar

The head of the Alacahöyük excavations, Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu said that among the instruments the Hittite guitar was the oldest known.

Çınaroğlu said that during the excavations, they had unearthed a rock on which the figure of a human playing a guitar was carved. “This figure has been known for many years. Researchers have been making comments and evaluations about it. Musicologists have different ideas about this figure. This rock, which dates back to some 3,500 years ago in 1,400 B.C., has been unearthed around Alacahöyük. It is seen that there are frets on this guitar and its shape resembles to the shape of present guitar format. But we cannot claim that this is definitely a guitar.”

He said that Spaniards laid claim to the guitar, but they did not have records of such an old guitar. “The figures, which begin with the figure of the mother goddess on the left tower of the Sfenksli gate, continue with the figures of a queen, people who attend a ceremony, musicians playing guitar and bulls. This shows that guitars existed 3,500 years ago.”

‘Guitar was born here’

A classical guitar teacher from Çorum, Osman Ünsal Taşçı said he tried to show the Hittite guitar to the world during events and programs that he organized.

He said that music existed in the Hittite period and various instruments were used. “Music in the Hittite period is seen in the finds unearthed on the İnandık Hill. Besides guitars, many musical instruments such as flutes, drums, and tumbas existed there. Our goal is to prove that music existed in the Hittite period. We want to say that the guitar belonged to Çorum and the Hittites. We thank the Spaniards because the guitar became known with them, but I think the guitar was born here.”

November/15/2012

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Nicholas Loucas

11/15/2012 1:21:00 PM

As a guitarist, this is not news. at least not to me. While we can thank the Spaniards and the italians for the development of the modern day 6 string guitar with the E,A,D,G,B,E tuning, it is common knowledge amongst most guitarists that the guitar does find its roots in Anatolia. Starting with the Hiittites, modernzed by Anatolian Dorian and Ionian Greeks, discovered by the Romans, improved again by the italians and perfected by the Spanish.

Nathan Random

11/15/2012 8:47:11 AM

Why is the girl in the photo touching the reliefs? Great preservation work guys...
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