Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in der westlichen Oberstadt von Hattusa I.

Author:Beckman, Gary
Position:Book review

Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in der westlichen Oberstadt von Hattusa I. Edited by ANDREAS SCHACHNER and JURGEN SEEHER. Bogazkoy-Hattusa, vol. 24. Berlin: WALTER DE GRUYTER, 2016. Pp. x + 225, illus. $140.

The excavations at the site of the Hittite capital of Hattusa (located adjacent to the modern Turkish village of Bogazkale) certainly represent one of the most significant archaeological projects in the Near East. Begun already in 1906 and carried out under the aegis of the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft and later of the Deutsches Archaologisches Institut. the work has resulted in many interim and final reports as well as innumerable individual philological and scientific investigations in both article and monographic form. The volume under review is the first in a new series of studies planned to present results of digging in the western portion of the Upper City (p. ix), where the expedition's efforts have been concentrated over the past decade.

Included here are two final reports, the first authored by the current director of the project, Andreas Schachner, on the dig at the impressive limestone outcropping called Yenicekale, with technical contributions by Birgul Ogut on the ceramics recovered there and by Ismail Omer Yilmaz and Demir Altiner (assisted by five other specialist geologists) on the provenience of the large stones employed in constructing the ancient walls atop the rock (in English). On the basis of the analysis of terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides (TCNs; the authors helpfully explain this technology to non-scientists, pp. 69-77), they conclude that while some of the blocks had been hewn in the process of leveling the top of the knoll itself, the majority were quarried elsewhere, undoubtedly in the near vicinity of Hattusa (p. 87).

This leveling has contributed to the difficulty in interpreting the history of Yenicekale: the deposits are very shallow and disordered, allowing for no stratigraphic analysis (p. 31) or carbon dating. The sparse pottery recovered (124 diagnostic sherds) indicates a primary occupation during the fifteenth and early fourteenth centuries BCE, followed much later by scanty Byzantine use--seemingly as a storage facility--in the tenth-eleventh centuries CE. Only a handful of small finds were recovered (pp. 54-61) for either period.

It remains unclear whether the foundations atop Yenicekale supported a roof, that is, were part of a building, or whether they rather simply structured a terrace or platform...

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