NEWS: The “Inland Western Anatolian World” in the Bronze Age

 

Latest research from Cultural Interactions: Borders Routes and Socio-Economic Dynamics International Symposium at Hacettepe University, Anakara 14-15 November 2019.

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From Left to Right: The Author (AMG), Eşref Abay, Sevinç Günel, and Christopher Roosevelt

As well as introducing a number of fresh academic voices to the discourse about the internal dynamics of Anatolia and its role between East and West, this excellent conference included the considered reflections on three major long-term excavations that have a major bearing on our understanding of Bronze Age Miletos:

Sevinç Günel on Çine-Tepecik: This small höyük on a tributary of Maeander has yielded fascinating Middle and Late Bronze Age evidence that must surely figure in any discussion of how, and how far, Aegean material culture penetrated into Anatolia beyond the well-known coastal sites. Stand-out finds from the MBA include an anthropomorphic jar and a fragment of a carved stone cup that finds parallels in Cyprus and Egypt. The site was fortified in the LBA with an impressive stone wall with square turrets. Inside was a 16m long narrow building, in which were in situ storage pithoi, a Hittite Imperial seal impression, and painted Mycenaean figurative pottery. An MBA terracotta idol with three bulls’ heads and an LBA schematic bull figurine, made of bronze that’s composition is that of the Uluburun and Gelidonya wrecks, provide further evidence for a widespread Anatolian bull culture. With its connections to Greece, the Aegean, Crete, Cyprus and central Anatolia, the small höyük at Çine-Tepecik was evidently considerably better connected that its neighbour higher up Maeander Valley at Aphrodisias.

 

Eşref Abay on Beycesultan: This massive palace site in the upper Maeander Valley has set the ceramic typology for prehistoric western Anatolia for over half a century but new stratigraphic excavations and earlier than expected 14C dates suggest that a new chronology may now be needed. Large-scale excavations on the south of the mound, away from the palace, uncovered a number of houses, a 3m wide stone-paved road, and a temple all excellently preserved by a destructive fire and dated to the LBA (previously Level II, now Level 5b – second millennium BC). The houses included a large number of U-shaped loom-weights of Anatolian type and large storage pithoi. The road is similar to one found previously in the palace area and suggests a city plan consisting of wide east-west roads running across the site. The Level 5b temple included a number of long-stemmed chalices of a type found across the upper Maeander Valley and, most interesting of all, a rectilinear mudbrick altar that resembles the ones found at Minoan Miletos.

Christopher Roosevelt on Kaymakçı: This large ridge-top settlement in the upper Gediz Valley is one of a number of fortified sites overlooking the Marmara lake in central Lydia, north of Sardis. Dating from the MBA, the site expanded greatly in LBA and was then abandoned, apparently without destruction. Finds, such as bronze pins, include both Aegean and Anatolian examples, but the majority of the ceramic assemblage is local (e.g. so-called ‘gold wash’ pottery) and its agricultural practices are adapted to the local environment. The two Mycenaean sherds found so far parallel those from Miletos but there is no Hittite pottery at all. Kaymakçı can therefore be seen to be at the centre of the “inland western Anatolian world” between the Minoan/Mycenaean coast and Hittite central Anatolian and was an active ‘node’ in social networks between those two spheres, and was possibly even the capital of the Seha River Land in C14th BC Arzawa.

Alan M. Greaves

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