UNESCO adds Turkey’s 8,000-year-old mound to its World Heritage List
The decision to add the Arslantepe Mound was taken during the Extended 44th UNESCO World Heritage Committee online session in Fuzhou, China, said a ministry statement.
Arslantepe, “Lion Hill” in English, has been on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since 2014, the statement reiterated, calling it one of Turkey’s earliest religious and civil sites.
With the mound, the number of Turkish sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List has reached 19.
The archaeological site of Arslantepe is located on the Malatya plain, 5 kilometers from the city center and 15 km from the Euphrates River, UNESCO’s website said.
“It is a 4-hectare and 30-meter high archaeological mound dominating the plain and formed by the superimposition of settlements for millennia from at least the 6th millennium BCE to the late Roman period,” UNESCO said.
The long history of the site, located at the crossroads of the main civilizations of the Near East, reveals crucial events and processes of change in connection with the contemporary developments in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the South Caucasus.
More than 50 years of archaeological excavations by Rome’s Sapienza University have brought to light rich material remains of the many civilizations that called the site home from their formation to their collapse, it added.
“This research has enlightened the millenarian history of the Upper Euphrates region and makes Arslantepe an exceptional testimony to crucial stages in the human history: the birth of hierarchical societies, that of the first centralized political and economic systems, the origin of bureaucracy and its first working system, the rise of a systematic control on human labor, in other words, the origin of power and the State,” UNESCO said.
“The site also testifies to the fact that these crucial changes in human history took place for the first time over a large area including, besides Mesopotamia, the Euphrates region in Eastern Anatolia,” it added.
Tourism and Culture Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy praised the decision.
“We have had an important opportunity to promote Arslantepe Mound and Malatya more intensely, not only to Turkey but to the world,” he said.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called Ersoy to congratulate.
“In the upcoming period, we will continue our efforts to promote the cultural treasures of Anatolia and all our riches,” he said during the phone call.
“We are extremely happy that Arslantepe has found the place and value it very much deserves. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to this process,” he added.