GeriGündem Ancient settlements unearthed in eastern Turkey
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Ancient settlements unearthed in eastern Turkey

A group of international archeologists have unearthed ancient settlements and building remains in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya, the head of the excavation team said on Wednesday.

A settlement dating back to Early Bronze Age, and remains of a building dating to Hittite era were recovered during excavations in Aslantepe, Malatya, professor Marcella Frangipane, the head of the excavations and a lecturer at the Italian La Spienza University, told AA correspondent.

Aslantepe was a city from 5000 BC to 712 BC, until the Assyrian invasion, and was later abandoned for a long time. It then became a Roman village from 500 to 600 AD, and later the Byzantine necropolis.

The first palace in the world was built in Aslantepe in 3350 BC. 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 BC. 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 BC.

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 BC.

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, and also told the AA that it would be a major tourist attraction for Malatya if the palace was turned into an open air museum.

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 hill is in the Orduzu quarter of Malatya, six kilometers east of the city centre.

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.

During this period Aslantepe was the centre of Melidia, as the city was previously known. The limited remains include the palace, dating from the end of the 4th millennium BC, wall paintings, and what is left of a Roman village.


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