Arslantepe, cradle of civilizations in Anatolia
MALATYA – Anadolu AgencyReflecting the rich culture of Anatolia, the Arslantepe Mound in the eastern province of Malatya is shedding light on history thanks to its adobe palace with colorful figures on its walls, a 5,500-year-old temple and many artifacts such as ancient swords and spears.
Located seven kilometers from the center of Malatya, Arslantepe is one of the historical Anatolian structures that sheltered human beings for centuries thanks to its high agricultural potential, wetlands and geography that helped prevent river floods.
The ancient mound is home to the traces of many civilizations from the Hittites to the Romans and the Byzantines, as well as finds between the Late Chalcolithic Era in 5000 B.C. and the Iron Age.
Excavation works on the mound have unearthed lion statues and an overturned king sculpture. The adobe palace, which has infrastructure to drain rainwater, reveals the structure of the first city state in the area, while the colorful figures and engraved reliefs on the wall show the traces of an early state system at Arslantepe. There are also a number of artifacts similar to those in Mesopotamia unearthed during excavations on the mound.
The finds at the mound include metal artifacts such as silver, gold, copper and lead, as well as 12 spears and nine swords, providing some of the earliest examples of weapons.
Ivory plaque unearthed in this year’s excavations
Archaeological excavations in the mound were first started in the 1930s by a French team. Currently, works are being carried out by an Italian team headed by Rome La Sapienza University Professor Marcella Frangipane.
This year, works continued on two different parts of the mound and unearthed juniper wood pieces, small temples and storages, as well as very large city walls in the northeastern section.
The four-meter-high and five-meter-thick walls used a foundation made from rubble, according to the excavation team, which also unearthed the remains of a rubble terrace.
The team also discovered finds and ceramics from the Iron Age as well as an ivory plaque with animal figures on it. The Mesopotamia-style plaque could shed light on commercial trade between Mesopotamia and Anatolia.
Stating that important finds had been unearthed in excavations at Arslantepe, Battalgazi Mayor Selahattin Gürkan said the finds and the palace revealed the facts about the first settled state life in the history of human beings, as well as the transition from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
Gürkan said Arslantepe had a history of more than 7,000 years. “In previous years, adobe walls and the sections of the palace were unearthed. This year special drawings and reliefs were found. This is the center of civilizations that makes Anatolia unique. Finds here are very important for the history of human beings. As the municipality, we are carrying out works with the excavation team here so that Arslantepe enters the World Heritage List.”