Ancient Urartian settlement found in eastern Turkey

Ancient Urartian settlement found in eastern Turkey

Ancient Urartian settlement found in eastern Turkey

Archaeological excavations have unearthed a settlement, rock tombs, temple and a 50-meter-deep water tunnel in the eastern province of Erzurum’s Dumlu neighborhood. The settlement is believed to date back to the Urartian Kingdom.

Researcher and writer Ömer Faruk Kızılkaya, who studies the history and culture of Erzurum, have heard that while treasure hunters were digging in the rural areas in the Dumlu neighborhood, they studied the area believing there to be historical structures there.

Kızılkaya initiated a large-scale investigation into the area and found rock tombs, temples, settlements and a water tunnel belonging to an ancient civilization in the region. He then applied to the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism for the protection of this region.

Traveling to the region with reporters from Anadolu Agency, Kızılkaya went down in a cave where rock tombs were located and people in the ancient civilization had carved rocks to meet their water needs 50 meters below the ground.

Kızılkaya and the reporters arrived in the field taking precautions with the help of a rope and wearing safety belts for climbing. Through a steep descent of about 15 meters, the team made a tough walk in the narrow cave down a steep slope and and finally reached the water source.

Kızılkaya said the rock tombs, the temple area and the remains in the region may belong to the time of the Urartu Kingdom.

 “This is the place where the funeral ceremonies of kings or people, who are highly respected by the public, were performed. We think there is a tomb here that belongs to either a king, ruler, or religious man,” he said, drawing attention to the rock tombs in the region.

Kızılkaya also said the upper part of the region should be examined in detail, as he had found remains of a settlement where the king tombs were, adding that the region had been badly damaged by treasure hunters.

“This is an important area belonging to ancient times, a place where a ritual was made. We see the rock tombs.  This place should be taken under protection for detailed study,” he said.

Atatürk University Art History Department Professor Haldun Özkan said just as much as life, death has been important for people since ancient times.

He said the Urartians left some artifacts in the settlement where they lived during the time of their reign in the eastern Anatolian region.

“One of these artifacts is the rock tombs. With simple classification, there are burial chambers made up of one room and ones with more rooms. These were designed especially as a space to be used for the dead in the afterlife by cutting the rocky area, smoothing the rocks and processing them. Even in ancient times, food was left here as a sacrifice for their beliefs. Traces of the Urartu settlement can often be seen, especially in eastern Anatolia. It is also possible to see similar examples of rock tombs in and around Erzurum,” Özkan said.