Hasankeyf Castle undergoing excavations
Historical artifacts have been unearthed during archaeological excavations carried out in the castle of the one of the oldest settlements in the world, the historical Hasankeyf district of the southeastern province of Batman.
Archaeological excavations have started in Hasankeyf Castle, located in the Hasankeyf district, which is one of the most important settlements in the history of humanity with its 12,000-year history and an uninterrupted life cycle from the Middle Ages to the present.
Works have been carried out by a team of experts under the leadership of Mardin Artuklu University art history department lecturer Professor Zekai Erdal.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Erdal said that Hasankeyf has a history dating back 12,000 years.
Noting that only the lower city part of the district was flooded with the water from the Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu Dam, Erdal stated that the upper city, which was the capital of the district in the past, remained as it was.
Reminding that the excavations in Hasankeyf first started in the 1980s under the presidency of Professor Oluş Arık, Erdal said that he undertook this task from Professor Abdüsselam Uluçam in the 2000s.
Explaining that they started their excavation work inside the Roman-period garrison structure in the Hasankeyf Castle and in the cemetery area in the east of the garrison, Erdal noted that they aimed to reveal the actual boundaries of the military structure, called the great palace in the past, and the rough outline of the palace by tracing the traces of the existing walls.
“Hasankeyf Castle should be considered as a whole together with the valley and structures around it. It covers an area of 110,000 square meters. The best example of this is Ephesus. Excavations in Ephesus have been going on for over 100 years. In this context, Hasankeyf excavations have the capacity to last for hundreds of years,” he said.
[HH] Important capital in Middle Ages
Stating that the district, located on the banks of the Tigris River, is on an important transit point route due to its location, Erdal said that the Tigris River gave life to its surroundings in history, and that is why they found mounds from the pre-Neolithic period in Hasankeyf and its environs.
Due to the fact that Hasankeyf district is on the edge of the Tigris River and at the same time, due to the location of the castle on a route that provides transit passage through the river, Hasankeyf still maintains its importance at a commercial and military point, Erdal said, adding that, therefore, it was one of the important capitals and centers of the Middle Ages with its castle and the city around it.
Stating that one of the important structures in Hasankeyf Castle that has survived from the past to the present is the secret door, Erdal said that there are very few examples of this in Turkey.
“There are always secret gates in the castles that are used to evacuate the members of the dynasty and the important figures or the people in the castle at the time of a raid or attack against the castle. Hasankeyf Castle also had a gate opening to the valley and this door has preserved its original texture. The gate is in a position on the hillside next to the castle, dominating the environment, and the rock in front of it goes down to the deep valley next to it with carved roads and stairs.”