Rescue dig reveals Assyrian town in eastern Turkey

A street structure from 4,000 years ago has been found among attached houses unearthed as part of the Müslümantepe archaeological rescue excavations carried out by the Diyarbakır Museum in the eastern province of Diyarbakır’s Bismil district.

Rescue dig reveals Assyrian town in eastern Turkey
The mound of Müslümantepe is on the south bank of the Tigris River, northwest of the village of Şahintepe in the Bismil area east of Diyarbakır. The oval mound is 300 x 200 m in extent and 15 m high and has remains from Late Uruk to Iron Age [Credit: Hurriyet/AA]
The excavations have been ongoing since 2000 as part of a project to rescue and preserve cultural items from the area to be flooded by the Ilsu dam. According to officials, artifacts that have been collected and documented date as far back as the early, middle and late Bronze Ages, including the Assyrian period, early Iron Age, Iron Age and Islamic period. A street structure found among houses as well as developed architectural structures were also unearthed.

Findings documented

Particularly significant finds were made in 2012, and Diyarbakır Museum archaeologist Şeref Yumruk, a leader in the project, said excavation work was completed on Oct. 27 and they were now working on documenting the findings. “We unearthed seven periods in one excavation,” he said. Yumruk said that findings from Müslümantepe had architectural differences from those found in other areas, and shed important light on early Iron Age architecture. 

Rescue dig reveals Assyrian town in eastern Turkey
The archaeological rescue excavations in Müslümantepe have been ongoing since 2000 as part of a project to rescue and preserve cultural items from the area to be flooded by the Ilsu dam [Credit: muslumantepe.com]
“The fact that the interior of these houses were covered with stone has not seen before in the region. There are wooden shelves in these houses above-ground and we think that these shelves were used to protect food from insects. Also there are depots next to the houses to keep grains. This was used especially in rural areas and it shows us the continuation of the same culture in the region. We unearthed mid-Bronze Age architecture during excavations that dates back 4,000 years. We found out that this age ended with an invasion and fire. The most important architectural finding from this period is the street structure, which is 1 to 1.5 meters wide. This street structure was constructed with pebblestones and broken ceramic pieces and is similar to today’s street structures,” Yumruk said.

He added that they unearthed historic graves, 150 of which were from the Islamic period and one from the Greco-Roman period. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [January 03, 2013]

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