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21 September 2008
Ancient settlement unearthed in eastern Turkey

A settlement dating back to Early Bronze Age, and remains of a building dating to Hittite era were recovered during excavations in Aslantepe, Malatya (Turkey), professor Marcella Frangipane, the head of the excavations and a lecturer at the Italian La Spienza University, announced.
     Aslantepe was a city from 5000 BCE to 712 BCE, until the Assyrian invasion, and was later abandoned for a long time. It then became a Roman village from 500 to 600 CE, and later the Byzantine necropolis. The first palace in the world was built in Aslantepe in 3350 BCE. There are storage chambers, a corridor, a courtyard and a temple in the palace.
     "We are trying to find two layers in Aslantepe dating back to Early Bronze Ages, and we have unearthed a part of a city walls dating to 2,900-2,800 BCE. This city wall is like an acropolis," Frangipane said. Frangipane said the excavation team had also uncovered houses and cookers on the hills, which might indicate that there was a settlement during 3,000-2,500 BCE. The excavation team found a structure in the north of the tumulus, dating to late Hittite era, Frangipane said. "There was a lion gate, created by lion statues unearthed during excavations carried out by the French archeologists. These statues are now exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara," he said.
     Frangipane also said that his team found a big building behind the lion gate that might be from around 3,000-4,000 BCE. Talking about the palace unearthed in the area, Frangipane said, "it was preserved well, and the walls had original coat of paint. There are also very beautiful paintings on walls." Frangipane said that the team restored the paintings. The Italian professor also said that the team would continue its excavations in the area.
     Aslantepe is one of the most excavated ancient sites in Central Anatolia. The scientific excavations initiated in 1932 still continue today, and have so far unearthed seven different layers dating back from the Calcolithic Age to the Romans, with the major settlement layer formed in the late Hittite period.

Source: Hot News Turkey (19 September 2008)

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