Saturday, June 27, 2015

Earliest temple found in Hasankeyf; yet another reason for @UNESCO to list #Hasankeyf

Archaeologists digging at the Neolithic mound in Hasankeyf have uncovered remains of a temple thought to be older than Göbeklitepe, according to an announcement this week by Batman University Chancellor Abdüsselam Uluçam, who is responsible for archaeological excavations at Hasankeyf.

Coming just as the UNESCO World Heritage Committee begins its annual meeting in Bonn, Germany, this news is a timely reminder to the international community of conservationists that Hasankeyf needs your support, now more than ever. Please join the Save the Tigris Campaign in urging Turkey, Iraq, and UNESCO to take the necessary steps to ensure that Hasankeyf and the Arab Marshlands of Iraq are preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.

Hasankeyf holds the remains of the earliest organized human settlement ever found. Digging at Hasankeyf under the supervision of Professor Yutuka Miyake of the University of Tsukuba, Japanese archaeologists have unearthed tantalizing clues about the diet, burial practices, and physical habitat of the people who lived here 11,500 years ago.

Recent excavations also shed light on the economic activity and standards of living in Hasankeyf during the Seljuk era. The discovery in 2012 of a water purification system dating to the 12th century attests to the sophistication of water management in Seljuk lands. An extensive network of natural streams and artificial canals, sections of which still function today, carried water to every part of Hasankeyf, including the citadel mount.
Remains of a 12th century water purification system,
excavated in Hasankeyf in 2012

Local gardeners, who rely both on wells and water diverted from surface streams, claim that a large underground network of cisterns and channels form the bigger part of the medieval water system, suggesting the need for continued archaeological work.

In addition, the remains of a ceramics factory on the edge of Hasankeyf’s Sâlihiyya garden district represent a rare example of medieval manufacturing, according to Oluş Arık, former head of excavations at Hasankeyf. Consisting of kilns, cooling pools, and areas for painting and storage, this complex constitutes the most important kiln remains in Anatolia and suggests that ceramics production in Hasankeyf was comparable to that of İznik. (See Arık, 201; Çeken, 22)
Hasankeyf ceramic kilns are thought to have
rivaled İznik in production capacity

The ongoing archaeological work at Hasankeyf demonstrates clearly and emphatically that Hasankeyf provides an unparalleled field in which to study the evolution of human habitat and deserves UNESCO listing as World Heritage to ensure that this research continues.

--HK Matters team

Arık, M. Oluş. Hasankeyf: Üç Dünyanın Buluştuğu Kent [Hasankeyf: The City Where Three Worlds Meet]. Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınlar, 2003.

Çeken, Muharrem. “Materials, Techniques and Kilns used in the Production of Seljuk and Beylik Period Glazed Tiles.” In Tiles Treasures of Anatolian Soil: Tiles of the Seljuk and Beylik Periods. Ed. Rüçhan Arık and Oluş Arık. Istanbul: Kale Group Cultural Productions, 2008. pp. 13-23

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely amazing! Even in the face of a seemingly inevitable determination to flood Hasankeyf, new, wondrous discoveries are being made, all of which can only hopefully help to stay the powers that be. Thanks for the report, team. Hopefully yours, M and J