Hittite-era artifacts come to light in Kırıkkale

Hittite-era artifacts come to light in Kırıkkale

KIRIKKALE
Hittite-era artifacts come to light in Kırıkkale

Nine layers of millennia-old ruins dating back to the ancient Hittite civilization were discovered in the central Turkish province of Kırıkkale’s Büklükale site.

Since 2009, excavations in the region have resumed every year in May and June to take advantage of the more favorable weather conditions. The discoveries have shed valuable light on the history of the region.

The Büklükale area consists of two main archaeological sites, the “lower city” and the “upper city.” Archaeologists have identified four culture layers among the ruins. The first layer holds daily objects, tools, artwork and religious symbols from the Ottoman period followed by a layer of objects and ruins from the Iron Age, the Late Bronze Age and the Old Bronze Age in the deepest layer.

For instance, one of the oldest glass bottles in the world was excavated from the third layer from the Late Bronze Age. Archaeologists also found a cuneiform tablet from the Hittite period and the head of a panther.

Geomagnetic surveys in the “lower city” unearthed the city wall and city gate from the Hittite period, revealing that the area was an important city center during the Hittite Empire in the second half of the second millennium B.C.

Kimiyoshi Matsumura, a professor at Kırşehir Ahi Evran University Archaeology Department and head of the excavations at the Büklükale site, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that their goal was to remove layers from the Iron Age this year and reach a burnt layer from the Hittite Empire period in the 14th century B.C. He said a team of 22 people are currently removing the earth that filled the city walls dating back to the 600-700 B.C.

“The important thing here is the Hittite period. We identified nine layers of construction belonging to the Hittite period. Three of these layers had a big fire. It shows us that there was a big battle here,” Matsumura said.

“This is a very big city; there is a castle in the upper part and the Hittite-era city walls in the lower part. It takes more than 100 years to dig this whole place.”

Matsumura, an expert in protohistory and the archaeology of Asia, said workers discovered clay tablets dating back to the Hittites and found interesting writings on the tablets, which were believed to be diplomatic letters between two countries.

“It was also written in the tablet that a messenger was sent and did not return. So there were conflicts between the two countries,” the professor said.

Workers also found a Hittite-era seal made of bone.

“This seal must be the one sent from the capital, Hattusha,” Matsumura said. “Last year, we found a button-shaped jewelry made of bone. It had panther-like animal motifs. The same seal, which was made of gold, was also found in Russia.”

Another interesting find was a panther head made of white marble.

“We believe it dates back to 2,000 B.C. We also found a glass bottle from 1,700 B.C. It is one of the oldest glass bottles in the world,” Matsumara said.

The bottle offers new information about when and how glass bottles were produced, he added.

Büklükale, Kırıkkale, excavations