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Alacahöyük

Alacahöyük (also Alaca Höyük) is located 36 km to the northeast of the Hattusa (Boğazköy) in north central Turkey in the Çorum province. Although brief excavations were carried out in 1893-94 and 1907, proper excavations started in 1935 by Turkish Historical Association under H. Z. Koşay and R. O. Arık. Currently Prof. Dr. Aykut Çınaroğlu of Ankara University is working on the site since 1997.

Excavation reveal that the site must have been an important settlement already in pre-Hittite times. Alacahöyük's Hittite period name remains undetermined, but most scholars suspect it to be either Arinna or Zippalanda, both of which are known from Hittite texts as major cult centers in close proximity to Hattusa. Among the most important finds of the location are the richly decorated pre-Hittite period royal tombs dating from about 2500 BCE. Almost all of the standing stone monuments like sphinxes are orthostats 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 is still being investigated. The bases of the two towers by the Sphinx Gate are decorated with several orthostats. Most of the reliefs and sphinxes date to the 14th century BCE. The sphinxes and most of the orthostats have been replaced with replicas and the originals have been moved to Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.



Click on pictures for larger images.

View from south - Google Earth E. Akurgal, 2001 Royal tombs in the foreground - T. Bilgin, 2006 A pre-Hittite royal tomb, Çorum Museum - T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 Gateway lion Charging bull Game animals Hunt scene Lion hunt King's offering to the God


Sphinxes and Reliefs of Southern Gate
Most of the originals are in Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.

During the early excavations, 1907 B. Bilgin, 1999 T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 C. Süer, 2009 C. Süer, 2009 C. Süer, 2009 Musician and dog trainer(?) Sword-swallower and acrobats Priests(?) King and Queen before an altar Double Headed Eagle


Alacahöyük Hittite Dam
Also known as Gölpınar Dam, it is probably one of over 10 dams that were built by Tudhaliya IV around 1240 BCE as it is stated in the Hittite documents. The dam was restored in 2002 and holds about 15,000 cubic meters of water. Alacahöyük village still uses it for irrigation. A stele base and a fragment of a round-top stele with hieroglyphic inscription which mentiones the goddess Hepat has been found during the cleanup process.


T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 T. Bilgin, 2006 A. and B. Dinçol, 2008



Pre-Hittite Religious Standards
Some of the most important findings of Alacahöyük were the cult objects found in the royal tombs of pre-Hittite 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 T. Bilgin, 2014 T. Bilgin, 2014 K. Bittel, 1976 T. Bilgin, 2014 N. Kişnişçi, 2007 T. Bilgin, 2014 T. Bilgin, 2014 T. Bilgin, 2014 T. Bilgin, 2014 N. Kişnişçi, 2007 T. Bilgin, 2014 from Horoztepe, in MMA, New York - T. Bilgin, 2010 in MMA, New York - T. Bilgin, 2010 from Boğazköy - K. Bittel, 1976 from Horoztepe Istanbul - T. Bilgin, 2012 G. Ortiz Collection, Geneva MMA, New York - K. Bittel, 1976 from Yozgat - K. Bittel, 1976 British Museum - T. Bilgin, 2007 Private collection from Kalınkaya, Çorum - Yıldırım and Zimmerman, 2006 from Horoztepe(?) T. Bilgin, 2014 N. Kişnişçi, 2007



Literature:
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:
Tayfun Bilgin, 2006-2014.
Bora Bilgin, 1999.
Cüneyt Süer, 2009.
Ekrem Akurgal, The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations, Ankara, 2001.
Kurt Bittel, Die Hethiter, München, 1976.
Ali and Belkıs Dinçol, "Neue hieroglyphische Dokumente aus Alaca Höyük", Coll An VII, 2008: 175.
Naci Kişnişçi 2007 - gunce.marsyas.gen.tr
T. Yıldırım and T. Zimmerman, "News from the Hatti Heartland," Antiquity Vol 80 No 309, September 2006.