Turkey, Culture

Ancient Hittite temple in Turkey's central Anatolia to be unearthed

Cuneiform tablets, telling about historical ties in Hittite civilization, likely to be unearthed: Head of excavation team

Halife Yalcinkaya   | 11.09.2021
Ancient Hittite temple in Turkey's central Anatolia to be unearthed

SIVAS, Turkey

Archaeological excavations will be carried out to unearth one of the most important temples of the Hittites in Kayalipinar, a 3,800-year-old ancient city in Turkey’s central Sivas province.

"There are many monumental structures and administrative buildings here. Those structures show us the importance of this place in both the Old Assyrian and Hittite periods. So there is a lot for a visitor to see here," Cigdem Maner, an archeologist at Koc University in Istanbul, told Anadolu Agency.

Maner, who will also head the excavation team in the ancient city, said Kayalipinar is referred to as "Samuha" in ancient Assyrian and Hittite cuneiform texts, adding that Kayalipinar was once the capital of the Hittites after Hattusa.

She underlined that preliminary preparations for the excavations to be carried out in the Kayalipinar village of the Yildizeli district in Sivas have been completed.

Explaining the historical background of the temple, Maner said: "The cult of the goddess of night was brought to Samuha from the Cilicia region (southern Anatolia) during the reign of the Hittite King Tuthaliya II, and a temple was built for her."

"This temple and cult were later renewed during the reign of Mursili II, and a temple was built for the goddess Shaushka-Ishtar. Hattusili III had declared Shaushka as his own goddess, while his son Tudhalija IV and the kings after him also continued this cult," she added.

Archeologists Vuslat Karpe and Andreas Muller-Karpe from Germany's University of Marburg also carried out an excavation in 2005-2019, she noted, saying the structures unearthed so far are from that period.

Importance of excavation in Kayalipinar

Stressing the importance of the excavation works, Maner said: "Cuneiform tablets are also likely to be unearthed. These will tell about the actual historical relations and correspondence at the time, including the literature, religion and political structure of the Hittite civilization ... as well as correspondence of the Hittites with other civilizations."

According to some old texts, the temple has 14 rooms, while the excavation team currently does not know what they will encounter, she added.

"The most beautiful (artifacts to be unearthed) would be the statue of the goddess, cult objects, and cuneiform tablets describing rituals."

12.09.2021

Ancient Hittite temple in Turkey's central Anatolia to be unearthed

Cuneiform tablets, telling about historical ties in Hittite civilization, likely to be unearthed: Head of excavation team

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