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Latest Tavşanlı Höyük excavation site, with inset Mycenaean-like dagger-sword.	Source: Kazılar ve Araştırmalar Dairesi Başkanlığı / Turkish Dept of Excavations and Research

Mycenaean-like Dagger-Sword and Unique Seal Discovered at Anatolian Mound

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Kutahya in Western Anatolia is home to one of the world’s oldest settlements, which began 8,100 years ago. At this very site, during the excavations of Tavşanlı Höyük or the Tavşanlı Mound, a 3,300-year-old seal and a dagger-sword that resembles Mycenaean weaponry were unearthed. Tavşanlı Höyük was once the capital of an unknown kingdom of over 50 hectares, serving as a crucial inter-linking route between Central and Western Anatolia, reports Ahaber.

The Heart of Western Anatolia: Kutahya

It is often called the ‘Heart of Western Anatolia’ for its resemblance to a heart in aerial shots and is one of the largest Bronze Age mounds. Excavations commenced here almost exactly a year ago, under the aegis of Dr. Erkan Fidan, Associate Professor at the Archaeology Department of Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University, and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Governor Ali Çelik has estimated that these excavations will continue for at least 3 decades, with initial fund allocation planned along those lines. In total, a team of 25, local and foreign experts, have been working on this site, under Associate Professor Dr. Fidan’s leadership. For the most recent find, a post has been shared on the social media of the Department of Excavations and Research.

The heart shaped ancient site at Tavşanlı Höyük, ‘heart of Anatolia’. (Kütahya Governorate)

The heart shaped ancient site at Tavşanlı Höyük, ‘heart of Anatolia’. ( Kütahya Governorate )

“Age analysis by TÜBİTAK reveals that Tavşanlı Höyük is the oldest known settlement of Kütahya. The village, which developed over time, became a big city five thousand years ago. In this period, which is called the Bronze Age, it is thought that copper and silver were processed and traded here,” provided Dr. Fidan.

The research and study that is going to be carried out here are important for understanding how interregional communication was shaped in ancient Anatolia. 25 local and foreign experts are involved in the research, and over the last week, a team of 6 amateurs were taken on to help them understand the process of archaeology. This included university students, graphic artists, art teachers, housewives, and even a private sector employee. This 4-day workshop, under the banner of the archaeology club, was an opportunity for history buffs to have a ‘real archaeological excavation experience’, including working with Hittite cuneiform, Gordion mosaics that dated back to 750 BC, amongst others.

3300-year-old dagger-sword and seals unearthed during excavations at Tavşanlı Höyük. (Turkish Dept of Excavations and Research)

3300-year-old dagger-sword and seals unearthed during excavations at Tavşanlı Höyük. ( Turkish Dept of Excavations and Research )

Urbanization, Development, and the Luwians

The settlement started to urbanize some 5,000-years-ago and would go onto become a ‘big city’ a thousand years later, existing contemporaneously with the last periods of the Hittites. This has been seen for the first time in a few archaeological centers in Western Anatolia, changing the way we understand this crucial historical region, reports Arkeoloji Khaber .

“It is known that the peoples defined as Hatti in Central Anatolia and Luwi in Western Anatolia lived in this period. I can say that the Hittite civilization in Hatti and later is well known, but we do not have any information about the Luwian cities. I think that Tavşanlı Höyük may be a city belonging to the Luwians, which is seen as a missing link in Anatolian history,” he said.

The Luwians were a group of Anatolian people – they lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia (present-day Turkey), during the Bronze and Iron Age. Their language, Luwian, was interestingly sometimes used by the Hittites, which made them linguistically related cousins, who shared a unique hieroglyphic script. Luwian was an Indo-European language written in Mesopotamian and Akkadian cuneiform.

In many contemporaneous documents from the era (particularly from the Hittite capital of Hattusa), it appears that Western Asia minor is called Luwiya. It is the boon of this language, Luwiya, that we have so much information in the first place about Luwian culture. It was not just an ethnic identity, but existed as a separate linguistic identity as well, one of Asia’s first fully formed script-based ones.

The current excavations and research help trace Luwian history and shed light on the cultural practices that allowed distinctions to exist between Central and Western Asian kingdoms of the time, which were severely fragmented.

Top image: Latest Tavşanlı Höyük excavation site, with inset Mycenaean-like dagger-sword. Source: Kazılar ve Araştırmalar Dairesi Başkanlığı / Turkish Dept of Excavations and Research

By Sahir Pandey

References

Altuntaş, L. 2022. A 3300-year-old seal and a dagger/sword reminiscent of Mycenaean swords were discovered in the Heart of western Anatolia . Available at: https://arkeonews.net/a-3300-year-old-seal-and-a-dagger-sword-reminiscent-of-mycenaean-swords-were-discovered-in-the-heart-of-western-anatolia/.

AK. 2022. Amateur archaeologists taste the excitement of archaeological excavations in Tavşanlı Höyük . Available at: https://www.arkeolojikhaber.com/haber-amator-arkeologlar-tavsanli-hoyukte-arkeolojik-kazi-heyecanini-tatti-34581/.

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