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Karasu Relief

The Neo-Hittite rock relief stands over the Karasu river valley, briefly before it joins to Euphrates. It was first reported by geologists Krummenacher and Wilson in 1956, while they were exploring the area. The relief is carved on a flattened rock surface in a niche. It shows a deer with long antlers and a male figure standing on the deer. He has a bow over the left shoulder and a spear in the extended right hand. It is likely that this is a representation of the Hittite tutelary deity (see Altınyayla, Gölpınar, Hacıbebekli). The male figure wears a short tunic and pointy shoes as a god would have, but the head-piece does not have a horn. Over him is a winged sun disk. Unfortunately the sun disk and the head of the figure were blown away in 1976 by treasure seekers. There are no inscriptions. Based on its style, the relief is estimated to be from the 10th or 9th century BC.

A Neo-Hittite settlement has been found in the Karasu area and it is possible that this was the protective god of this settlement. An artificial ditch in the size of 3x12 meters has been found in the proximity of the relief. Between the ditch and the relief, about 30 separate libation holes have been found, which may suggest that it was a spot for religious ceremonies.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

Burney & Lawson, 1958 Hellenkemper & Wagner, 1977 (1974) Hellenkemper & Wagner, 1977 (1974) B. Bilgin, 2011 B. Bilgin, 2011 B. Bilgin, 2011 B. Bilgin, 2011

Burney, C. A. and G. R. J. Lawson, "Urartian Reliefs at Adilcevaz, on Lake Van, and a Rock Relief from the Karasu, Near Birecik," AnSt 8, 1958: 211-18 (218 and plt. XXXIV).
Ehringhaus, H. Das Ende, das ein Anfang war: Felsreliefs und Felsinschriften der luwischen Staaten Kleinasiens vom 12. bis 8./7. Jahrh. v. Chr., Mainz, 2014: 95–101.
Hellenkemper, H. and J. Wagner, "The God on the Stag: A Late Hittite Rock-Relief on the River Karasu," AnSt 27, 1977: 167-73.
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971. (Karasu)
(List of Abbreviations)

Image sources:
C. A. Burney & G. R. J. Lawson, 1958.
H. Hellenkemper & J. Wagner, 1977 (1974).
Bora Bilgin, 2011.