Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cultic City and Fortress unearthed in Western Turkey

New excavations conducted by the University of Tübingen (Germany) and the Onsekiz Mart University of Çanakkale (Turkey) at the site of Sirkeli Höyük near Adana (southern Turkey) have revealed the remains of a massive bastion fortification dating to the Hittite Imperial Period (ca. 1300 BC). Sirkeli Höyük, one of the largest settlement mounds in Cilicia during the Bronze- and Iron Ages, was already known to archaeologists and historians because of two Hittite rock reliefs located at the site.

The better preserved rock relief of the two shows the Hittite King Muwatalli II (ca. 1290–1272 BC), opponent of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the famous Battle of Qadesh in Syria and is thus the oldest Hittite rock relief known so far.

On the upside of the rock, just above the reliefs, various shallow pits or basins are found which apparently are to be connected with the reliefs and were used for libations in the course of cultic activities.

These pits were part of a larger cultic installation which also included a building to the west of the rock reliefs. This ensemble is thought to be a cultic installation for the Hittite King.