Ancient Urartian storage containers found in Van
VAN – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosAncient storage containers, known as “pithos,” have been unearthed during excavations in the Çavuştepe Castle in the eastern province of Van.
Cereals, butter and wine were kept in the containers, which date back to 2,800 years ago.
Located in the Gülpınar district, 20 kilometers away from the city center, the castle was built in the heyday of the Urartian Kingdom by the Urartian King Sardur II.
The walls of the castle have survived, together with its cisterns and pioneer sewer systems, temples and palace structures. It is one of the most popular places in the province for tourists.
Excavations in the castle have been headed by Yüzüncü Yıl University Archaeology Department Professor Rafet Çavuşoğlu.
Çavuşoğlu said that after a 30-year hiatus, archaeological work restarted on the castle in 2014.
Istanbul University carried out excavations on the castle between 1961 and 1964, he said, adding that most of the unearthed artifacts had received damage and melted because of wind, rain and snow. “In the first stage, we aim to protect these artifacts,” he said.
He said this year’s excavations aimed at cleaning the southern and northern corridors and storages. “We plastered the adobe walls of the Irmusini Temple in the castle and the corridor with mud. The aim of this work is to prevent the melting of the adobe walls of the conserved places. Our work for conservation will continue in the next years, too.”
Çavuşoğlu said the Urartians had progressed in all fields despite the difficulties of their era.
“The Çavuştepe Castle, built by the Urartian King Sardur II provides us important information about the past. During this year’s work, we unearthed the sections that served as storage buildings. In the storages, that are made up of two parts and were reinforced after fires, we have found 120 pithos containers, where cereals, sesame oil, wine and other food were kept. The containers had a capacity of 36 tons of products. Each pithos has a capacity of 300 kilograms. Buried underground, the pithos storages has units of measure written in cuneiform. Cereals obtained from the Gürpınar Plain were kept there. They were used as granaries and met the needs of the people living there. The Urartian kept all of their supplies there to meet the needs of officials in the palace,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu said the Çavuştepe Castle was one of the most interesting artifacts reflecting the social life of the Urartians and that they had also found sinks where grapes were turned into wine.
He said the Urartians built a canal to provide water for the castle. “This information is written on inscriptions in the castle. The water was used for grapes and wine produced from these grapes was kept in pithos.”
Çavuşoğlu said four types of stones were skillfully used in the castle, adding that the travertines that were used on the castle walls were brought from stone pits in Edremit district.