The excavation and research activity of archaeologists, both foreign and Turkish, in the last decade, despite the war events, has led to a greater knowledge of the various cultures that followed in the region, from the Paleolithic to the period of the late Empire.
After the first paleolithic discoveries made by Pittard in 1928 at Adiyaman (S. di Malatya), excavations of the Anthropological Institute of the University of Ankara directed by Şevket Aziz Kansu, and of the Turkish Historical Society, founded in 1931 by Atatürk, have increased the documents of the ancient stone age. All the Paleolithic finds collected by Pfannenstiel cannot be classified with a rigid system, but they constitute, however, two groups, one from central Anatolia and one from southern Anatolia which, typologically, morphologically and chronologically, can be related to European finds.
Certain Neolithic documents are lacking so far in central-western Anatolia, but are instead found in the south, except in the areas of the Taurus range, such as in the lower layers of Yümüktepe or Soǧuksutepe near Mersin in Cilicia, excavated by prof. Garstang of the University of Liverpool. The excavation is also interesting because in the Eneolithic layer immediately above the Neolithic one, pottery painted in the style of Tell Halaf was found; moreover, because it attests in Cilicia the existence of an older Hittite cultural layer and one contemporary to the great kingdom. New documents have also brought about the excavations of H. Goldman in Cilicia, at Tarsus.
Rich eneolithic finds, from the third millennium BC. C., were made in central and western Anatolia. Among the accurate stratigraphic excavations carried out by Turkish archaeologists in the artificial hills, called hüyük, we must remember those of Alaca Hüyük, Ahlatlibel, Karaoǧlan, EtiyokuŞu (near Ankara), which not only confirm the stratigraphy first established by HH von der Osten in hüyük of Alishar, but they also give a general picture of the high degree of Anatolian culture of the third millennium. This is attested by, for example, the “royal tomb” discovered in the Eneolithic layer of Alaca Hüyük, with its very rich furnishings that certainly have an original micro-Asian character, but which so far has no comparison with those known and thus poses a series of archaeological and cultural problems.
One of the most important cultural centers of western Anatolia still remains Troy, where CW Blegen of the University of Cincinnati has made new excavations, specifying better the stratigraphy of the nine phases, reaching important chronological results. Clarifiers were also the excavations conducted by W. Lamb at Kusura, near Afyonkarahisar.
Thanks to these researches it can now be concluded that Asia Minor in the first half of the third millennium had a homogeneous high-level culture of a city character, which, moreover, in the second half of the same millennium, with regard to the types of the house, the tomb, of ceramics, it was divided into the two cultural groups of western and central Anatolia, which, however, are not to be brought back to different races. The third millennium ends with the migrations of peoples. The Hittites appear at the beginning of the second millennium in Asia Minor, settling in central Anatolia in the bend of the Halys (Kïzïlïrmak) to then spread their dominion from here over all of Asia Minor. It is clear that the Hittites, during their eight-century rule (the great migrations of peoples of the 12th century mark the end of their power),
In fact, Hittite cultural strata have been clearly highlighted in the hüyük of central Asia Minor; moreover, new settlements and reliefs on the rock have been discovered. Important results have been achieved by K. Bittel’s excavations in the Hittite capital of HattuŞaŞ (Boǧazköy). The architectural remains have been studied, and the ceramics and glyptics have made it possible to bring back the beginnings of the town up to the second millennium BC. C. The discovery of new cuneiform tablets led to important conclusions regarding the cultural and political history of the Hittite kingdom. Seals with two different types of writing have offered considerable elements for the deciphering of Hittite hieroglyphic writing. The same expedition led by K. Bittel carefully excavated and explored the sanctuary of Yazilikaya near Boǧazköy.
The archaeological activity has also extended to the cultures formed after the fall of the Hittite kingdom in the micro-Asian soil.
For example, an important Phrygian settlement was explored at 2140 m. height from RO Arik on the Göllüdaǧ, near Nigde. It has also been recognized, thanks to research undertaken at Çankirikapi, that Ankara (Ancyra) in the Phrygian era it was already a densely populated city. An important Phrygian village was discovered and excavated in Pazarli (Çorum) east of Ankara; in it the remains of houses and clay slabs of covering with interesting representations have come to light. Also in the aforementioned hüyük of Karaoǧlan, important as the westernmost Hittite station, a notable Phrygian cultural layer has been ascertained. To these excavations that have enriched our knowledge of Phrygian art and culture are added the researches of the French Archaeological Institute of Istanbul in the areas between EskiŞehir and Afyün Qarah ḤiŞār and the excavations of the same institute in the city of Midas (Yazilikaya). For Turkey 2010, please check programingplease.com.
In Karatepe, in eastern Cilicia, a center belonging to a late Hittite state established in southern Anatolia after the fall of the great kingdom has been discovered with the excavations carried out by the Turkish Historical Society in recent years. A fortified settlement came to light with the main entrances decorated with orthostats with reliefs and with ancient Phoenician and Hittite hieroglyphic writing. It is to be hoped that these texts too provide important elements for deciphering Hittite hieroglyphic writing.
In eastern Anatolia, which had hitherto been little explored, important research was undertaken by American archaeologists in Van, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Urartu: Reilly worked there in the prehistoric station at Tilitepe near Van and K. Lake in the citadel itself. of Van, where remains of rock architecture and urartee inscriptions have come to light.
As for the field of Greek and Roman antiquities in the large excavation centers such as Pergamum, Larissa sull’Ermo, Ephesus, Miletus has not had any activity in recent years, however there has been no lack of discoveries. Fr Devambez directed the excavation of the carian sanctuary of the god Sinuri near Mylasa, with important finds of pottery and inscriptions.
For Aphrodisias, v. in this App. In Smyrna, part of the agora with grandiose buildings inside was brought to light. In Ankara a grandiose thermal building with an adjoining gymnasium was almost completely excavated near Çankirikapi and work was undertaken to isolate the temple of Augustus, which made it possible to recognize that the temple was pseudodicterus and was surrounded by a Corinthian portico.
New discoveries have also been made in the field of funerary architecture. An interesting tomb with a lantern roof and dromos from the 4th century. to. C. was excavated in Mudanya (Myrleia), by A. Müfid Mansel. Provincial derivations of the same type, but of the first century. to. C., can be considered the Karalar mounds around Ankara.
Excavations in Pamphylia were promoted by the Turkish Historical Society under the direction of Mansel; Thus in 1946 the necropolis of Perge was tested with a very rich archaeological and epigraphic material. During the works carried out in Side in 1947 and 1948 the temples, a part of the great arcaded street, the theater, the agora, and some surrounding houses were isolated.
Even in Thrace there was no lack of research by the Turkish Historical Society. An expedition, also directed by Mansel, revealed a prehistoric station under a tumulus near Alpullu with a pottery that is closely related to that of the Bronze Age in Hungary. In Kirklareli, an interesting domed tomb from the 4th century has been unearthed in various mounds. to. C. and some more recent chamber tombs. In Vize (Bizye) and in Lüleburgaz (Bergule, Arkadiupolis) some 1st-2nd century tumulus tombs have given precious furnishings.
Istanbul, as the center of union between Anatolia and Thrace, has been a field of intense archaeological research. In the church of S. Sofia, where previous excavations had freed the pre-Justinian construction, the precious mosaics were brought to light after a long and skilful work by the director of the Byzantine Institute, Th. Whittemore. Precious and ancient mosaics have been discovered with the excavations undertaken by the University of St. Andrews and the Walker Trust and directed by Baxter in the area of the great imperial palace. A courtyard of m. 34 × 66 surrounded by a portico of 42 columns, high m. 7; the ambulatories are paved with rich figured mosaics with griffins, hunting and fishing scenes, trees, etc. with an eclectic repertoire and a purely ornamental composition. The peristyle dates back to around 410, and was rebuilt in 550. On the SE side. there are the churches of S. Demetrio and S. Elia and a tower; to N. a building, perhaps the chrysotriklinos ; along the S. side the imperial apartments.
After a long work, the large palace complex was brought to light by Aziz Ogan and A. Müfid Mansel at Küçükcekmece (Rhegion), which has given important elements to Byzantine civil architecture, still so little known.