Soğmatar digs reveal children played with toy carriage, rattle 5,000 years ago
ŞANLIURFA - Anadolu Agency
5,000-year-old horse carriage toy and wheels made for children is among the findings from ongoing excavations in the ancient city of Soğmatar in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
Soğmatar, located in the Eyyübiye district’s Yağmurlu neighborhood, is 80 kilometers away from the Şanlıurfa and is among the world’s oldest settlements. It is believed to be the place where the Prophet Moses lived after escaping from Egypt.
Archaeological excavations started in the region this year in May with the participation of Harran University Archaeology Department staff member Assistant Professor Yusuf Albayrak.
A number of rock tombs were unearthed in the region, with one of them revealing the toy horse carriage and a rattle.
Şanlıurfa Museum Director Celal Uludağ, the head of the Soğmatar excavations, spoke about the historical importance of the city, saying there were many artifacts in different spots of the city.
“We have so far obtained important findings in the excavation field. In a tomb in the necropolis area we found an earthenware toy horse carriage and its wheels. The toy dates back to the Bronze Age and is thought to have been produced for the children of kings or administrators in the city. It shows us the sense of art and children’s sense of play 5,000 years ago. This finding is very important to us and will be displayed at Turkey’s largest museum complex, the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum. We think we will get more important findings as long as the excavations continue,” Uludağ said.
God of the moon
According to documents, Soğmatar was once a center of Paganism and a large hill in the middle of the neighborhood was the center of the settlement. Albayrak said he conducted a surface survey in the ancient city in 2012 and found out that it was dedicated at the time to the god of the moon, Sin. Speaking about the historical importance of Soğmatar, he said the ancient city was “not only a temple but also a necropolis.”
“We found some 120 tombs in 2012. Seven in particular were really remarkable and almost all of the 120 tombs had a view of the mound. We carried out searches in the mound and ceramic findings showed that this place was a settlement until recently. Cleaning work was carried out over one month in 2016 and we found more than 100 pieces in the tombs, delivering all of them to the museum. The tombs date back to the early Bronze Age, 5,000 years ago.
They are almost unique, in the shape of a well and reflecting the characteristics of this era. When the Romans arrived here they changed the architecture,” Albayrak added.
“We got the permission for excavations in 2017 and worked in May for one month. Now we have been working for the last 15 days. We have so far opened 45 tombs, finding three tombs that were not even opened in the Roman era. In one of these tombs, we found a four-wheeled miniature horse carriage, a children’s toy, as well as a rattle with a bird motif. Children’s toys were buried in children’s tombs. We thus know that rattles existed for children 5,000 years ago,” he said.