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ARCHAEOLOGY > Traces from millennia ago sought in Central Anatolia's Alacahöyük

ÇORUM - Anatolia News Agency

New excavations this year are hoping to unearth traces of even earlier settlements than those previously discovered at Turkey’s well-known ancient site of Alacahöyük, which currently draws around 50,000 visitors a year. The excavations will begin soon in the ancient site

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The settlement at the ancient site of Alacahöyük began 1,500 years earlier than previously thought, according to experts. AA photo

The settlement at the ancient site of Alacahöyük began 1,500 years earlier than previously thought, according to experts. AA photo

Turkey’s well-known ancient site of Alacahöyük, which currently draws around 50,000 visitors a year, is located in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum. Works at the site are set to continue, to uncover more clues like those found last year in order to prove that the settlement in the ancient site of Alacahöyük began 1,500 years earlier than previously thought.

The head of the Alacahöyük excavations, Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu, said that the first excavations had started at the ancient site in 1907, and lasted only 15 days, and were then restarted in 1935 on the order of Atatürk.

Çınaroğlu said that this year’s digs in Alacahöyük, which is known as Turkey’s first national excavation area, would begin next month, adding that the works would focus on following up the pieces that were found last year and proved that the first settlement was seen in the area much earlier than thought.

In the light of data to be revealed during excavations, Çınaroğlu said they had previously estimated that housing dated back to 8,500 years ago in Alacahöyük, “But we had suspicions that it might date back to earlier times. Last year we began finding pieces from the Neolithic age, confirming our suspicions. We could not have found a Neolithic settlement but objects that will shed light on this settlement. Thus we saw that housing dated back to 1,500 years earlier than we have known so far. This year we will focus on these objects and try to find the traces of this settlement.”

He said that their goal was to reach a Hittite layer in this year’s works, adding, “This is what we expect this year. We may find it or not. Or perhaps we will find it in future excavations. The objects that we found last years were a very good discovery. We don’t know yet what to find this year.”

Hittite Sun Disk belongs to Hattis

The sun disk, known as the Hittite Sun Disk, was known by the wrong name, according to Çınaroğlu, who said, “This symbol actually belongs to the Hatti period, which existed 400-450 years earlier than the Hittites.” Çınaroğlu said that the reconstruction plan, prepared by the Culture and Tourism Ministry to protect Alacahöyük, was coming to an end, and visitors would be able to see the culture of Hittite and Hatti civilizations after the remaining works.

He said that the ancient settlement had been a very important center throughout the history, and that it had served as a mine in the old Bronze Age and as a religious center in the Hatti period. “At the time of the Hittites, the area was a cult center of civilization,” he said.

June/11/2013

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