Alaca Höyük

Alacahöyük or Alaca Höyük (sometimes also spelled as Alacahüyük, Aladja-Hoyuk, Euyuk, or Evuk) is the site of a Neolithic and Hittite settlement and is an important archaeological site. It is situated in Alaca, Çorum Province, Turkey, northeast of Boğazkale (formerly and more familiarly Boğazköy), where the ancient capital city Hattusa of the Hittite Empire was situated. Its Hittite name is unknown: connections with Arinna, Tawiniya, and Zippalanda have all been suggested. [1] [2]

Alaca Höyük
Alaca Höyük 01
Alaca Höyük
Alaca Höyük is located in Turkey
Alaca Höyük
Shown within Turkey
LocationÇorum Province, Turkey
Coordinates40°14′04″N 34°41′44″E / 40.23444°N 34.69556°ECoordinates: 40°14′04″N 34°41′44″E / 40.23444°N 34.69556°E
Site notes
ConditionIn ruins


Sphinx Gate, Alaca Höyük 02
The Sphinx Gate

The mound (Turkish höyük) at Alacahöyük was a scene of settlement in a continuous sequence of development from the Chalcolithic Age, when earliest copper tools appeared alongside the use of stone tools. During the Early Bronze Age, the mound was the center of a flourishing Hattian culture. It has been continuously occupied ever since, until today's modern settlement in the form of a small village. The standing and distinguishing remains at Alacahöyük, however, such as the "Sphinx Gate", date from the Hittite period that followed the Hatti, from the fourteenth century BC.

Royal tomb, Alaca Höyük 02
A royal tomb in Alaca Höyük

Thirteen shaft-grave "Royal Tombs" (EBII, ca. 2350-2150 BC) in Alacahöyük contained the dead in fetal position facing south. They were richly adorned with gold fibulae, diadems, and belt buckles and repoussé gold-leaf figures.

According to Trevor Bryce,

″There is a theory that the occupants of the tombs were not from the native Hattian population of central Anatolia, but were Kurgan immigrants from the region of Maikop in southern Russia, who spoke an Indo-European language and perhaps became rulers of the local Hattian population.″[3]

Many of the artefacts discovered at Alacahöyük, including magnificent Hattian gold and bronze objects found in the Royal Tombs, are housed today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Among these artefacts are gold and electrum standing cups and other vessels. The most unusual are the Alaca Höyük bronze standards; bulls or stags on pedestals whose purpose remains the subject of debate. The standards are cast in copper, many in the form of flat circles, half-circles or squares that are filled with an openwork network of cross bars, central crosses, and swastikas. Leonard Woolley[4] found that the Royal Tombs "seem to belong to the end of a period, as marked by a stratum of destruction and the burning of the citadel. The culture which the tomb objects illustrate does not continue into the next historical phase, that of Kültepe". Modern assessment[5] finds that the site continued as a flourishing community to the end of the Late Bronze Age. There was also a sizable occupation in Phrygian times.


A dam, dating from 1240 BC, was announced to be reopened for use on September 23, 2006. The dam was ordered by King Tudhaliya IV in the name of the goddess Hebat. According to ancient Hittite tablets, a drought struck Anatolia in 1200 BC, prompting the King to import wheat from Egypt so that his land would avoid famine. Following this, the king ordered numerous dams to be built in central Anatolia, all but one of them becoming non-functional over time. The one in Alacahöyük has survived because the water source is located inside the dam's reservoir.


Sundisk Alacahoyuk
A sun disk found in tombs in Alacahöyük dates back to the early Bronze Age.

In 1907, the Ottoman archaeologist Theodor Makridi Bey carried out brief explorations here for two weeks. [6] In the 1910s, German teams discovered royal tombs dating to the third millennium BC, as well as a Hittite town of the second millennium BC. The impressive sphinx gate surrounded by stone reliefs marked its entrance. [7] The town was heavily fortified with walls and towers due to the frequent raids of the Kaska people living in the mountainous region to the north. Excavations by the Turkish archaeologists Remzi Oğuz Arık and Hamit Koşay resumed in 1935 under the personal instructions of Atatürk who contributed from his own budget. [8][9]The work, which continued until 1970, revealed considerable local wealth and achievement even before the time of the Hittites, with the earliest occupation dating from the 4th millennium BC. Tombs of the 3rd millennium BC feature metal vessels, jewelry, weapons, and pole finials of bulls, stags, as well as abstract forms often interpreted as solar symbols. Excavation at the site resumed in 1994, and is now directed by Dr. Aykut Çınaroğlu.


  1. ^ Gorny, Ronald L. "Zippalanda and Ankuwa: The Geography of Central Anatolia in the Second Millennium B. C." Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 117, no. 3, pp. 549-557 (1997).
  2. ^ Popko, Maciej. "Zippalanda and Ankuwa Once More." Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 120, no. 3, pp. 445-448 (2000).
  3. ^ Trevor Bryce, The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire. Routledge, 2013 ISBN 1134159080 p. 21
  4. ^ Woolley 1961
  5. ^ Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites rev. ed., Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-19-928132-7
  6. ^ Theodor Makrid Bey, La porte des sphinx a Euyuk Fouilles du Musee Imperial Ottoman, Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-Agyp-tischen Gesellschaft, vol. 13, 1908
  7. ^ Robert L. Alexander, A Great Queen on the Sphinx Piers at Alaca Hüyük, Anatolian Studies, vol. 39, pp. 151-158, 1989
  8. ^ H. Z. Kosay, Ausgrabungen von Alaca Höyük: ein Vorbericht über die im Auftrage der Türkischen Geschichts kommission im Sommer 1936 durchgeführten Forschungen und Entdeckungen, TTKY, vol. 2a, 1944
  9. ^ Hâmit Z Kosay and Mahmut Akok, Alaca Höyük excavations : preliminary report on research and discoveries 1963-1967, Türk tarih Kurumu yayunlarindan. 5. ser, sa. 28, 1973


  • Remzi Oguz Arik, Les Fouilles d'Alaca Höyük: Entreprises par la société d'histoire turque. Rapport preliminaire sur les travaux en 1935, Publications de la Société Turque, 1937
  • Ayse Gursan-Salzmann, Alaca Hoyuk: A reassessment of the excavation and sequence of the Early Bronze Age settlement, University of Pennsylvania, 1992
  • Hamit Z. Koşay and Mahmut Akok, The Pottery of Alaca Höyük, American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 152–157, 1947
  • The Art of The Middle East, including Persia, Mesopotamia and Palestine - Woolley
  • M. J. Mellink, Observations on the Sculptures of Alaca Hoyuk, Anatolia, vol. 14, pp. 15–27, 1970
  • [1] Ahmet Unal, The Textual Illustration of the Jester Scene on the Sculptures of Alaca Höyük, Anatolian Studies, vol. 44, pp. 207–218, 1994
  • O.R Gurney, The Ladder-Men at Alaca Höyük, Anatolia Studies, vol. 44, pp. 219–220, 1994
  • Piotr Taracha, The Iconographic Program of the Sculptures of Alacahöyük, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, vol. 11, iss. 2, pp. 132–147, 2011
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Euyuk". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

See also

External links

Alaca Höyük bronze standards

The Alaca Höyük bronze standards are a series of bronze objects found among the grave goods in the princely tombs of Alaca Höyük. They are generally understood as cult instruments, probably to be attached to carts.


Arinna was the major cult center of the Hittite sun-goddess known as dUTU URUArinna or "Sun-Goddess of Arinna", who is also sometimes identified as Arinniti or as Wuru(n)šemu. Arinna was located near Hattusa, the Hittite capital.The Sun-Goddess of Arinna is the most important one of three important solar deities of the Hittite pantheon, besides dUTU nepisas 'the sun of the sky' and dUTU taknas 'the sun of the earth'.

She was considered to be the chief deity in some sources, in place of her husband. Her consort was the Storm-God; they and their children were all derived from the former Hattic pantheon.

The goddess was also perceived to be a paramount chthonic or earth goddess. She becomes largely syncretised with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, as the Hittite Storm-God was with Teshub.

In the late 14th century BC, King Mursili II was particularly devoted to the Sun-Goddess of Arinna.

Bahadır Alkım

Uluğ Bahadır Alkım (February 28, 1915 – May 6, 1981) was a Turkish archaeologist.

Uluğ Bahadır Alkım was born in İzmir, then Ottoman Empire on February 28, 1915. After his high school education, he entered the Faculty of Letters at Istanbul University in 1935 studying Assyriology, Hittitology, Archaeology and Ancient history. He graduated in 1939, and in 1941 he became a scientific assistant at the same faculty. Alkın obtained a PhD degree in 1944. In 1945, he became a lecturer, and in 1960, he was appointed professor serving at this post until his death. Between 1962 and 1975, he lectured at Robert College, where he acted as the Turkish director in the 1963–64 term. He founded the Institute of Archaeometry at the same institution, which is now the Boğaziçi University. He served at several European universities as visiting scholar.Alkım took part at archaeological excavations in Vize (1942), Alaca Höyük (1942), and with Leonard Woolley in Alalakh (1947). In 1947, he was elected member of the Turkish Historical Society (Turkish: Türk Tarih kurumu), which sponsored all his later archaeological excavations.He participated at Karatepe excavation in southern Turkey with Helmuth Theodor Bossert (1889–1961) and Halet Çambel (1916–2014) in 1947. The discovery of Karatepe Bilingual decisively led to the decryption of Hieroglyphic Luwian with the help of Phoenician alphabet.

In 1949, he carried out research work at Domuztepe across Karatepe. His expeditions between 1947 and 1957 in the area of Anti-Taurus Mountains and Amanos Mountains led him the discovery of an ancient trail network. From 1957 until 1961, Alkım excavated at the Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop in Gaziantep Province, which was discovered by Felix von Luschan (1854–1924). He took part also at the excavation in Amik Valley, Cilicia.His excavation between 1958 and 1972 at Tilmen Höyük unearthed four overlaid settlements dating back from the Late Chalcolithic period to the Islamic epoch, including a 19th-century BC old city and a palace building of the Yamhad Kingdom. He began in 1964 to work at Gedikli Karahöyük excavation, which lasted until 1967. There, a necropolis was revealed featuring unusual burial forms of ancient Asia Minor.Alkım localized more than fifty settlements at his surface surveys he carried out in the Black Sea Region in the years from 1971 to 1973. His last excavation was at İkiztepe near Bafra, Samsun Province, he began in 1974, and lasted until his death. At İkiztepe, finds and artifacts dating back to the Early Bronze Age and the Early Hittite Period were retrieved.Bahadır Alkım died at age 66 in Istanbul on May 6, 1981. He was married to Handan Alkım, who worked with him at several excavations.


Cestrus was a city in the Roman province of Isauria, in Asia Minor. Its placing within Isauria is given by Hierocles, Georgius Cyprius, and Parthey's (Notitiae episcopatuum). While recognizing what the ancient sources said, Lequien supposed that the town, whose site has not been identified, took its name from the River Cestros and was thus in Pamphylia. Following Lequien's hypothesis, the 19th-century annual publication Gerarchia cattolica identified the town with "Ak-Sou", which Sophrone Pétridès called an odd mistake, since this is the name of the River Cestros, not of a city.


Docimium, Docimia or Docimeium (Greek: Δοκίμια and Δοκίμειον) was an ancient city of Phrygia, Asia Minor where there were famous marble quarries.


Drizipara (or Druzipara, Drousipara. Drusipara) now Karıştıran (Büyükkarıştıran) in Lüleburgaz district was a city and a residential episcopal see in the Roman province of Europa in the civil diocese of Thrace. It is now a titular see of the Catholic Church.

Gölpınar Dam

The Gölpınar Dam, also known as the Alacahöyük Dam, is a Hittite dam from the second millennium BC, near Alaca Höyük in central Turkey.

Hittite art

Hittite art was produced by the Hittite civilization in ancient Anatolia, in modern-day Turkey, and also stretching into Syria during the second millennium BCE from the nineteenth century up until the twelfth century BCE. This period falls under the Anatolian Bronze Age. It is characterized by a long tradition of canonized images and motifs rearranged, while still being recognizable, by artists to convey meaning to a largely illiterate population. “Owing to the limited vocabulary of figural types [and motifs], invention for the Hittite artist usually was a matter of combining and manipulating the units to form more complex compositions"Many of these recurring images revolve around the depiction of Hittite deities and ritual practices. There is also a prevalence of hunting scenes in Hittite relief and representational animal forms. Much of the art comes from settlements like Alaca Höyük, or the Hittite capital of Hattusa near modern-day Boğazkale. Scholars do have difficulty dating a large portion of Hittite art, citing the fact that there is a lack of inscription and much of the found material, especially from burial sites, was moved from their original locations and distributed among museums during the nineteenth century. However, larger period groupings have been established by some, including the Colony Age, the Hittite Old Kingdom Era, and the period of the Hittite Empire.

Hittite music

Hittite music is the music of the Hittites of the 17th-12th century BC and of the Syro-Hittite successor states of the 12th-7th century BC.

Understanding of Hittite music is based on archaeological finds and literary source material. Hittite texts mainly describe the use of music in religious contexts. The basic musical elements were instrumental music and singing, as well as shouting and other noises, like clapping. Because of the small amount of evidence, Hittite music is poorly understood compared to Mesopotamian and Egyptian music of the same period.

Hittite sun disk

The Hittite Sun Disk or Hittite Sun Course is an ancient Anatolian symbol dating back to the 5th century BC.

The disks can be divided into four distinct variations. These are Semi-circular, Diamond shaped, Circular with bulls' horn and circular of semicircular with a complex design including animals and horns. The last one of those types was replicated in a monument. The sun disks have been found in at least 13 Royal Tombs from the early bronze age in Alacahöyük.

Hüseyindede vases

The Hüseyindede vases are Early Hittite vases decorated with reliefs, which were found in excavations at Hüseyindede Tepe near Yörüklü in the Turkish province of Çorum. There are fragments of four vases in total. Two of them were nearly complete and were able to be restored. They are on display in the Çorum Archaeological Museum.


Lyrbe (spelled Lyrba in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia; Ancient Greek: Λύρβη) was a city and episcopal see in the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima and is now a titular see.

Meteoric iron

Meteoric iron, sometimes meteoritic iron, is a native metal found in meteorites and made from the elements iron and nickel mainly in the form of the mineral phases kamacite and taenite. Meteoric iron makes up the bulk of iron meteorites but is also found in other meteorites. Apart from minor amounts of telluric iron, meteoric iron is the only naturally occurring native metal of the element iron on the Earth's surface.

Sacred bull

Numerous peoples throughout the world have at one point in time honored bulls as sacred. In Sumerian mythology, Marduk is the "bull of Utu". In Hinduism, Shiva's steed is Nandi, the Bull. The sacred bull survives in the constellation Taurus. The bull, whether lunar as in Mesopotamia or solar as in India, is the subject of various other cultural and religious incarnations as well as modern mentions in New Age cultures.

Stratonicea (Lydia)

Stratonicea – (Greek: Στρατoνικεια, or Στρατονίκεια) also transliterated as Stratoniceia and Stratonikeia, earlier Indi, and later for a time Hadrianapolis – was an ancient city in the valley of the Caicus river, between Germe and Acrasus, in Lydia, Anatolia; its site is currently near the village of Siledik, in the district of Kırkağaç, Manisa Province, in the Aegean Region of Turkey.

Sıhhiye Square

Sıhhıye Square (Turkish: Sıhhiye Meydanı) is a square in Ankara, Turkey. "Sıhhiye" is a Turkish word for "Health". Because the former main building of the Ministry of Health is facing Sıhhiye Square from the east.

Formerly, it was also called "Lausanne Square" (Turkish: Lozan Meydanı) referring to the city Lausanne in Switzerland where the Conference of Lausanne was held in 1922–1923

Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop

Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop is an open-air museum and archaeological site in Gaziantep Province, Turkey. The site was a quarry in Hittite times and occupies a 100000 m2 area, making it the largest known stonemasonry workshop from the ancient Near East.


Zippalanda was a Hattic administrative and religious center of the Hittite Old Kingdom. Although its name was known from inscriptions, it was not until the latter 20th century that scholars placed it in Sorgan District of Yozgat Province, Turkey, near Kerkenes Dağ (Kerkenes Mountain often identified with Mount Daha (Mount Taha)), about one day's journey north of Ankuwa (present-day Alışar Höyük). The plausible sites are the settlement mounds known as Çadır Mound (Çadır Höyük) and Uşaklı Mound (Uşaklı Höyük).Zippalanda was one of the ancient Hattic religious centers that retained privileges in the Old Kingdom. These included Arinna and Nerik, and toward the end of the Hittite Empire Hattusa and Tarhuntassa. The Hittite king participated in official religious ceremonies such as the purulli-festival, spring and autumn Imperial festivals, the festival of the month, and possibly the hunting festival (the Ki-Lam). Much of the information about Zippalanda comes from tablets found at Hattusa, which record the existence of the temple of the Storm God and a palace or royal residence (halentu) and refer indirectly to daily religious life and festivals. The light defenses of the city wall suggest that it was a religious perimeter like that of Alaca Höyük. A number of cultic sites are found within the city and ranging outside it toward Mount Daha.In addition to religious functions, people at Zippalanda are recorded as engaging in military affairs, crafts, hunting and stock breeding.

Aegean Region
Black Sea Region
Central Anatolia Region
Eastern Anatolia Region
Marmara Region
Mediterranean Region, Turkey
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