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Alacahöyük is located 36 km to the northeast of the Hattusa (Boğazköy) in north central Turkey in the Çorum province. It was first excavated by Makridi Bey in 1907, but proper researches started in 1935 by Turkish Historical Association. Early excavations were carried out by H. Z. Koşay and R. O. Arık. Currently Prof. Dr. Aykut Çınaroğlu of Ankara University is working on the site since 1997.

Alacahöyük was an important city in pre-Hittite times, but after the Hittite conquest it remained in the shadow of the nearby capital Hattuša. The most important findings of the location are the artifacts from the pre-Hittite royal tombs dating from about 2500 BCE. Most of the standing monuments are from the Hittite period. The town walls with their carved orthostats have inner and outer gateways with ramps for archers. The southern outer monumental gateway was set between two towers and guarded by two great sphinxes. In the doorjambs are two 13 foot hight monoliths which were carved to create 7 foot high sphinxes. Inside this Sphinx Gate was a large Hittite building complex that still requires excavation. The bases of the two towers by the Sphinx Gate are decorated with several orthostats. Most of the reliefs and sphinxes date to 14th century BCE. The sphinxes and orthostats are replaced with replicas and the originals are moved to Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.

Click on pictures for a larger image.

Photo: Fatma-Orhan Durgut Alacahoyuk from E. Akurgal Ruins of royal tombs - view from west A royal Hatti tomb - Çorum Museum Tunnel entrance Inside the L shaped tunnel Tunnel exit
Gateway lion Charging bull Game animals Hunt scene Lion hunt King's offering to the God

Sphinxes and Reliefs of Southern Gate
Originals of the reliefs and sphinxes are in Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.

During the first excavations Photo: B.Bilgin 1999 Photo: T.Bilgin 2006 Photo: T.Bilgin 2006
Photo: T.Bilgin 2006
Musician and dog trainer(?) Sword-swallower and acrobats Priests(?)
King and Queen before an altar Double Headed Eagle

Alacahöyük Hittite Dam
It is probably one of over 10 dams that were built by Tudhaliya IV around 1240 BCE as it was written in the Hittite documents. The dam holds about 15,000 cubic meters of water and was restored in 2002. The Alacahöyük village still uses it for irrigation.

Photo: T.Bilgin 2006 Photo: T.Bilgin 2006 Photo: T.Bilgin 2006

Pre-Hittite Religious Standards
Some of the most important findings of Alacahöyük were the cult objects found in the royal tombs of pre-Hittite (Hatti) times from 3rd millenium BCE. They are in the shape of sun discs or animals that represented gods. They are often found as grave gifts and must have been carried in funeral processions as religious standards. Many of these items are on display in Anatolian Civilization Museum in Ankara. Some of the items below come from surrounding regions near Alacahöyük.

T. Bilgin 2014 K. Bittel T. Bilgin 2014 photo: N. Kişnişçi 2007 T. Bilgin 2014 T. Bilgin 2014 T. Bilgin 2014 T. Bilgin 2014 photo: N. Kişnişçi 2007 T. Bilgin 2014 from Horoztepe, in New York - T. Bilgin 2010 in New York - T. Bilgin 2010 from Boğazköy - K.Bittel from Horoztepe G. Ortiz Collection, Geneva Istanbul - T.Bilgin 2012 G. Ortiz Collection, Geneva K.Bittel from Yozgat - K.Bittel British Museum - T.Bilgin 2007 Private collection D. Ghezelbash collection, Paris from Kalınkaya, Çorum - Yıldırım and Zimmerman from Horoztepe(?) T.Bilgin 2014 photo: N. Kişnişçi 2007

Alexander, R. L. "A Great Queen on the Sphinx Piers at Alaca Hüyük," Anatolian Studies 39, 1989: 151-58.
Baltacıoğlu H., "Four reliefs from Alacahöyük," in Anatolia and its Neighbors. Studies in Honor of Nimet Özgüç, 1993: 55-60.
Börker-Klähn, J. and U. Krafzik. "Zur Bedeutung der Aufsätze aus Alaca Höyük" WO 17, 1986: 47–60
Koşay, H. Alaca Höyük Excavations: Preliminary report on Research and Discoveries, 1963-1967, Ankara: TTK 28, 1973.
Mellink, M. J. "Observations on the Sculptures of Alaca Höyük," Anadolu XIV, 1970:15-27.
Özgüç, T. "Alacahöyük. Ein Kultort im Kerngebiert des Reiches," in Die Hethiter. Das Volk der 1000 Götter. 2002: 172-175.
Orthmann, W. "Zu den Standarten aus Alaca Höyük," Istanbuler Mitteilungen 17, 1967: 34–54.
Ünal, A., "Weitere Deutungsversuche der Orthostatenreliefs am Sphinxtor von Alaca Höyük aus philologischer Sicht," in Acts of the
      IIIrd International Congress of Hittitology,
1998: 593-604.
Alacahöyük excavation reports and publications.

Image sources:
Fatma-Orhan Durgut
Ekrem Akurgal, The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations, KTB, Ankara, 2001.
Bora Bilgin, 1999
Tayfun Bilgin, 2006-2014
Kurt Bittel, Die Hethiter, Beck, München 1976, ISBN 3406030246.
Naci Kişnişçi 2007 -
T. Yıldırım ve T. Zimmerman, "News from the Hatti Heartland," Antiquity Vol 80 No 309, September 2006.