13,000-year-old buildings discovered in Mardin
Rıza Özel - MARDİN
The ongoing excavations in the southeastern province of Mardin have uncovered the remains of several buildings, which feature many beads with various depictions engraved on them dating back 13,000 years.
“There are structures dated much older in the world called pre-neolithic temporary shelters,” said archaeologist Ergül Kodaş, who leads the excavation works. “However, some structures unearthed in Boncuklu Tarla [Beaded Field] site in Mardin date back 13,000 years, and they are among the first examples of permanent villages.”
The site is one of the rare settlements which gives information about the entire early Neolithic period, according to Kodaş.
The archeologist also pointed out that some structures unearthed at the site are 1,000 years older than Göbeklitepe, which is known as the oldest temple in the world.
Göbeklitepe, declared an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018, was discovered in 1963 by researchers from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago.
Various historical artifacts, including a 65-centimeter-long human statue dating back 12,000 years, have been discovered during the excavations.
“The remains of 12,000-year-old buildings that were built on top of each other from three different periods have been found during the excavations,” the expert noted.
She stated that the buildings were presumed to be temples, but it is not known what exactly they were used for.
“The buildings can be thought of as a communal living center. What we know is that these are not residences, but we don’t know whether they were buildings used for gatherings on special occasions, for rest, for storage purposes, or if they were religious buildings.”
“It’s hard to call many of these buildings faith-centered, which is why we call them public buildings,” she added.
Stating that they encountered figures such as mountain goat, scorpion, bull head, snake and spider on the beads, Kodaş said these were used as pendants.
“They carved the bone and put bead stones on it,” she explained, adding that most of them belong to 8,000-9,000 B.C.
With the support of the Turkish Historical Society, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums, Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, Dargeçit Municipality and the Dicle Development Agency (DİKA), excavations have been completed in a four-decare area of the site.
After the excavation works to be started in the new areas are completed, the region will be opened to tourism.
Boncuklu Tarla was discovered in 2008 during a field survey. Its first excavations started in 2012.
Houses with quarry stone walls and stiffened clay floors from the Aceramic Neolithic Age, which date back to 10,000 B.C. and 7,000 B.C., were found during the excavations at the site in Dargeçit.
Along with thousands of beads used in ornaments, obsidian or flint blades, waste from ornament making and stone chipping tools were found at the site.
The tools include blades, gimlets, arrowheads and microliths.