Ancient Hittite temple to be unearthed
Archaeological excavations will be carried out to unearth one of the most important temples of the Hittites in Kayalıpınar, a 3,800-year-old ancient city in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas.
“There are many monumental structures and administrative buildings here. Those structures show us the importance of this place in both the Old Assyrian and Hittite periods. So there is a lot for a visitor to see here,” Çiğdem Maner, an archaeologist from Koç University in Istanbul, told the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Maner, who is also the head of the excavation team in the ancient city, said Kayalıpınar was referred to as “Samuha” in ancient Assyrian and Hittite cuneiform texts, adding that Kayalipinar was once the capital of the Hittites after Hattusa.
She underlined that preliminary preparations for the excavations to be carried out in the Kayalıpınar village in the Yıldızeli district in Sivas have been completed.
Explaining the historical background of the temple, Maner said, “The cult of the goddess of the night was brought to Samuha from the Cilicia region [Southern Anatolia] during the reign of the Hittite King Tuthaliya II, and a temple was built for her.”
“This temple and cult were later renewed during the reign of Mursili II and a temple was built for the goddess Shaushka-Ishtar. Hattusili III had declared Shaushka as his own goddess, while his son Tudhalija IV and the kings after him also continued this cult,” she added.
Archaeologists Vuslat Karpe and Andreas Muller-Karpe from Germany’s University of Marburg also carried out an excavation in 2005-2019, she noted, saying the structures unearthed so far were from that period.
Importance of excavation in Kayalıpınar
Stressing the importance of the excavation works, Maner said: “Cuneiform tablets are also likely to be unearthed. These will tell about the actual historical relations and correspondence at the time, including the literature, religion and political structure of the Hittite civilization as well as correspondence of the Hittites with other civilizations.”
According to some old texts, the temple has 14 rooms, while the excavation team currently does not know what they will encounter, she said.
“The most beautiful artifacts to be unearthed would be the statue of the goddess, cult objects and cuneiform tablets describing rituals,” she added.