12 July 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

“Harbetsuvan Tepe”, the 10,000-year-old Neolithic Acropolis of Taş Tepeler

Harbetsuvan Hill is similar to the acropolises built on the hills near the ancient Greek cities. It was established in a mountainous region called the Tek Tek Mountains, at an altitude of about 714 m above sea level.

Research carried out in Şanlıurfa since 1997 has led to the discovery of many cult centers symbolized by “T”-shaped pillars in the region.

You may have heard of these discovered cult centers with the name Taş Tepeler or Stone Hills many times. The most famous of these cult centers are Göbeklitepe and Karahantepe.

Harbetsuvan Tepe (Harbetsuvan Hill), which is approximately 7 km from Karahantepe, is built on a high hill and has a panorama that can see almost the entire Harran plain. Harbetsuvan Tepe, which was discovered for the first time during the surveys carried out in 2014, is located within the borders of the Eyyübiye district of Şanlıurfa province.

During the salvage works carried out on Harbetsuvan Hill, one of the small cult centers, in 2017, it was understood that the architecture unearthed was similar to the Göbeklitepe II layer architecture.

General View of Harbetsuvan Hill from the North
General View of Harbetsuvan Tepe from the North.

Three of these cult centers, which are contemporary with Göbeklitepe’s Levels III and II, dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A phase (PPNA) and the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B phase (PPNB) are the same size or even larger centers of Göbekli Tepe. Researches strengthen the possibility that Karahantepe, Ayanlar Höyük, and Tepehan Höyük are contemporary with Göbeklitepe’s Level III. Other small cult centers such as Harbetsuvan Tepesi, Sefer Tepe, Kurt Tepesi, Sayburç, and Taşlı Tepe generally have an area of ​​5-15 decares and are contemporary with Göbeklitepe’s level II.

During the surveys around Harbetsuvan Tepe, slope settlements, trap areas, and rock shelters were identified. The slope settlements are approximately 3-5 decares in size and face south, west, or southwest.

The reasons for the establishment of the slope settlements must be the gazelles in the region and the trap areas built accordingly. As a result, Harbetsuvan Hill looks like a center with ties to trap areas, slope settlements, and rock shelters. Compared to Karahantepe located next to it, the fact that Harbetsuvan Hill was established in a place overlooking the plain also gives the impression that this center was established for Karahantepe.

Stelae on Harbetsuvan Hill.
Stelae on Harbetsuvan Tepe.

During the survey on Harbetsuvan Tepe, pools carved into the bedrock, and tools made of flint and obsidian were found. Thanks to the finds, it was understood that the settlement was established as a small cult center in the B phase of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Period (PPNB).

In addition, many “T” shaped pillars, which we know from Nevali Çori, Sefer Tepe, Hamzan Tepe, and Göbekli Tepe, were also found on the surface of the hill.

As a result of the research carried out at the settlement, finger reliefs were also found on a “T” -a shaped pillar that was unearthed in an area excavated by illegal diggers.

The preserved part of Harbetsuvan Hill covers an area of approximately 6,000 square meters. The settlement is concentrated at the very top of a rocky hill.

Plenty of flint deposits were also found on the surface in the area called Recmelsuvan, 10 km south of Harbetsuvan. In the Harbetsuvan Tepe settlement, the flint finds are concentrated in the whole area. The number of flints per 1 m² area is about 30.

A sculpture fragment was found on a wall in the southern part of the trench. The statue is a 70 cm high, seated male statue with a phallus and its counterparts are known from Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe.
A sculpture fragment was found on a wall in the southern part of the trench. The statue is a 70 cm high, seated male statue with a phallus and its counterparts are known from Karahan Tepe and Göbekli Tepe.

Harbetsuvan Hill architecture is similar to Göbeklitepe II layer architecture. However, the entrance to the place, which is not seen on Göbeklitepe II level, was encountered on Harbetsuvan Hill. When the sculptural works in Harbetsuvan are examined, it is seen that they have similar characteristics to the works found in Karahantepe and Göbeklitepe.

Many independent standing stone fragments were found in trench K4. These obelisks are usually the head parts of most stelae. A sculpture fragment was found on a wall in the southern part of the trench. The statue is a 70 cm high, seated male statue with a phallus and its counterparts are known from Karahantepe and Göbeklitepe. In trench K4, an in-situ obelisk was found half embedded in the wall. This obelisk is placed on a wall. This architectural feature, which is very common in Göbeklitepe II layer, is also seen in the Nevali Çori cult building.

As a result of the research carried out at the settlement, finger reliefs were also found on a “T” -a shaped pillar that was unearthed in an area excavated by illegal diggers.
As a result of the research carried out at the settlement, finger reliefs were also found on a “T” -a shaped pillar that was unearthed in an area excavated by illegal diggers.

A stone bench was found intact just east of the same trench. This stone bench is 1.65m long, 1.16m wide and approximately 20cm thick. Similar ones were recovered from Göbekli Tepe and Nevali Çori. However, the only stone bench found intact so far is this stone bench found in trench K4.

When the sculptural works in Harbetsuvan are examined, it is seen that they have similar characteristics to the works found in Karahantepe and Göbeklitepe. As a result, it is thought that the Harbetsuvan excavation will bring new information to the scientific world in terms of showing promising finds already in the first excavation season and illuminating the Pottery Neolithic Period B phase in the region.

Source: Çelik, Bahattin , Uludağ, Celal, “Yeni Bir Çanak Çömleksiz Neolitik Dönem Kazısı: Harbetsuvan Tepesi

Çelik, Bahattin, “Differences and Similarities Between the Settlements in Şanlıurfa Region where “T” shaped Pillars are Discovered” TÜBA-AR S..17, (2015a), s.9-24.

Related Articles

A 2,000-year-old Roman sewage system has been discovered in western Turkey

19 September 2021

19 September 2021

The archaeological excavations carried out in the ancient city of Tripolis in the western province of Denizli’s Buldan district have...

2500-year-old ship graffiti sheds light on the history of Izmir in western Turkey

9 March 2022

9 March 2022

In the Smyrna Agora, which is one of the largest ancient agora in the city center of the world and...

8,000-year-old Cave paintings found in Türkiye’s İnkaya Cave depict life and death

10 September 2023

10 September 2023

A number of cave paintings dating back some 8,000 years have been found in İnkaya cave in the Marmara province...

Water Cultu in Hittites and Eflatunpınar Hittite Water Monument

4 February 2021

4 February 2021

The Hittites, which left their mark on the Bronze Age period in Anatolia, is a society that draws attention with...

In the city of Gods and Goddesses Magnesia, Zeus Temple’s entrance gate found

26 September 2021

26 September 2021

During an excavation in the ancient city of Magnesia, located in the Ortaklar district of Germencik in Turkey’s Aegean province...

An 8,200-year-old temple structure found in Çatalhöyük

6 September 2022

6 September 2022

An 8,200-year-old temple structure was found during the 30th excavation season of the excavations at Çatalhöyük, one of the first...

An 800-meter-long colonnaded street from the Roman period discovered in Türkiye’s famous holiday resort Antalya

18 April 2024

18 April 2024

During the archaeological excavations in Hıdırlık Tower, one of the historical symbols of Antalya, the famous holiday resort in the...

Return of a 4,250-year-old Hattian golden beak-spouted ewer to Turkey

27 October 2021

27 October 2021

The 4,250-year-old golden beak-spouted ewer was returned to the Anatolian Civilizations Museum by the Gilbert Art Foundation. Culture and Tourism...

Life in Trabzon Started in This Cave 13,000 Years Ago

12 March 2021

12 March 2021

Karadeniz Technical University Archeology Department academicians found that life in Trabzon started 13,000 years ago in the Koskarlı Cave. Koskarlı...

Ancient Synagogue found in Turkey’s popular tourist center Side

27 December 2021

27 December 2021

A 7th-century ancient synagogue has been found in Side, a resort town on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. The synagogue found was...

The Ancient City of Kilistra, Cappadocia of Konya’s

1 February 2021

1 February 2021

When we talk about fairy chimneys, churches and underground cities, the first place that comes to mind is Cappadocia between...

The 8,000-year-old Aslantepe in Turkey has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List

26 July 2021

26 July 2021

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday that a rich, 30-meter-high archaeological mound going back 8,000 years in southern Turkey has...

3500-year-old grape seed remains found in western Anatolia

12 September 2023

12 September 2023

Archaeologists at the Aşağıseyit Höyük (Aşağıseyit Mound) site in western Anatolia’s Denizli have uncovered a 3,500-year-old grape seed. Aşağıseyi Höyük...

New documentary searches history of Turkey’s 7,000-year-old Arslantepe Mound

28 December 2021

28 December 2021

The tale of Turkey’s fascinating 7,000-year-old Arslantepe Mound, an ancient building in Malatya, eastern Turkey that was just added to...

Turkey’s Must-See Ancient Cities

23 March 2021

23 March 2021

From the classical cities scattered on the coast to the earliest archaeological sites that can be traced back to human...