German archaeologist tracing Anatolian civilizations
On behalf of the German Archaeology Institute, Professor Aa has been carrying out the archaeological excavations in the Boğazkale district of Çorum, which was home to the Hittite capital Hattusa.
Schachner has been following the traces of civilizations in Anatolia for more than a quarter of a century.
After his high school education in Germany, Schachner, who was impressed by the frequent mention of Turkey by one of his teachers, came to Anatolia with his friends in 1986 and visited museums and ruins for three months.
Finishing his military service in Germany, Schachner, who studied Ottoman history, Turkology, Near Eastern languages Akkadian and Assyrian, studied at Hacettepe University in Turkish capital Ankara for a year and then returned to Germany for his master’s degree.
Meanwhile, Schachner participated in archaeological excavations in various parts of Anatolia in 1994 with his professors at Hacettepe University and joined the German Archaeology Institute in Istanbul in 2005 after giving archaeology lessons at various universities.
Schachner was appointed by the German Institute as the head of the excavations at the Hattusa Ruins in Boğazkale in 2006 and has been trying to solve the thousands of years-old mystery of ancient civilizations during archaeological excavations in various Anatolia regions for 27 years.
Carrying out his studies with his archaeologist wife, Şenay Schachner, Andreas Schachner was awarded the SAF Research Award (Outstanding Scientific Results) by the “Shanghai Archaeology Forum” of the People’s Republic of China Academy of Sciences in 2019 thanks to the experience he had in Anatolia.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Schachner said that he has been working at the Hattusa Ruins for 15 years and that he has many beautiful memories with the locals there and excavation workers.
“I had my best memories with the people here, with our workers and villagers who live with us and accept us as their guests. I had the most beautiful and emotional moments with them, and I have many memories,” he said.
Stating that he has no emotional connection with Hattusa but is happy to be there, Schachner said: “An archaeologist is not supposed to be emotional. I don’t have an emotional attachment either. I love being here, or else, I wouldn’t be here. However, if an archaeologist establishes an emotional bond, then he can lose his neutrality. That’s why I try to stay as neutral as possible.”
Stating that they unearthed unique artifacts, such as a large bull-headed vase and a fist-shaped drinking bowl, and made exciting discoveries during his work in Hattusha, Schachner said they obtained important findings for Anatolian archaeology in 15 years.
‘Anatolia’s cultural richness rare in the world’
Schachner noted that Hattusha was an important settlement where life has existed since the sixth millennium B.C., adding, “Every region of the world, every modern country has an ancient history. This is revealed by archaeological findings. However, Anatolia, today’s Turkey, has a very special place in this generalization. As we have seen in Hattusha and many other parts of Anatolia, there is a very long continuity. It is possible to research, follow, learn and interpret this continuity with the archaeological data.”
“Anatolia comes to the fore with the closeness of the ruins to each other and the fact that they are complementary elements. The heart of the Hittite civilization beats here, but we don’t learn this from just one place. We can learn from Boğazköy, Alacahöyük, Ortaköy and many other small mounds and various studies. They are all like pieces of a big mosaic that complement each other. The same is true for other periods. Thus, the cultural richness here is something that is rarely found in the world,” he added.
Schachner stated that the Hittites established a great state in Anatolia, adding, “For me, the most important legacy and characteristic of the Hittites is that they were able to establish a territorial state [a state that was founded on a limited land against universal empires and took its political existence from this country] on this geography. The cultures in Central Anatolia managed to establish only small states but the Hittites managed to establish and maintain a country stretching from the north of Central Anatolia to Syria, Mesopotamia and the Euphrates.”
Stating that this was the greatest cultural skill of the Hittites despite the geographically difficult conditions in Central Anatolia, Schachner said: “How did they achieve this? We can probably count many reasons, but I think the most important thing is that they can organize society, people in an extraordinary way. We see this in many subjects. Especially laws and rituals are written sources day by day, hour by hour. In other words, they organized the society very well towards a certain goal and at the same time used every opportunity given by the geography. This is really important. We see that the Hittites were an extraordinary society. This is the most striking point for me.”