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Lower barrier wall protecting the southeastern approach to Tepe Düzen
Radially arranged hollow impressions left by the heated rolls of the oven floor off the more recent kiln
The well-preserved floor of the second kiln at Tepe Düzen 1

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Tepe Düzen: July 13-17, 2008


View on the connection between the walls of the rectangular room (below on the right) and the two square rooms (on the left, below and on top)

During our second week at Tepe Düzen, Sabri Aydal and Hannelore Vanhaverbeke explored the site's outer reaches in order to determine the extent of surface remains related to the occupation at Tepe Düzen. Their exploration was successful in that we can now reconstruct the enigmatic walls running downhill perpendicular to the fortification wall surrounding the plateau, in at least three locations of its circuit. Two of these locations--visible if you enlarge the topographical map of this campaign's July 6-10 report--were protruding defense works, of which the length each time diminishes from one side to the other. From these defense works attackers could be hit from two sides by means of the arrows, spears, or javelins) some distance from the city wall. The defense works also rendered their shields of attackers useless as each defender thus always had a protected side. In many cases, starting already in the Early Bronze Age, city gates are protected by protruding bastions or towers on either side of a gate, but in those cases their dimensions are usually equal. Here, however, one seems to deal with two pairs of two walls, each pair having a different length. Future research should reveal why exactly these three spots were selected and whether or not there is a connection with a city gate, or whether the walls also worked (simultaneously) as buttresses along weaker spots in the defense line. In any case, we currently know of no other examples of this kind of defense system.


From left to right, bronze arrow head, iron javelin head, iron object, and bronze spear head from the building at Tepe Düzen 2 before cleaning

The fortification wall composed of almost "cyclopaean" irregular limestone blocks, was traced farther along the plateau, so that we now can follow it over a distance of ca. 1.5 km. During this week, we discovered a third defense system down slope from the fortification wall, part from the normal city wall and the circuit wall surrounding the Zencirli Tepe (the "acropolis" with a height of 1784 m.a.s.l.). Zencirli Tepe may have acted as a last refuge and, because of its steep slopes, was almost impossible to take. But places from which access to the city plateau was easy and thus needed to be guarded. Here, the third defense sysytem was composed of two watchtowers and of a massive barrier wall blocking the southeastern approach to the site. This triple defense system protecting Tepe Düzen from the lower slopes, over the edge of the plateau to the top of the steep acropolis, identify the site as a major city, clearly the capital of a rather important "state," be it located in a very hostile larger environment. The map of the site can now be considered completed, as far as the surface remains are concerned.

Tepe Düzen 1

After this interruption to complete the topographical work on Tepe Düzen, the excavation of Tepe Düzen 1 (see 6-10 July) and a second sector (5 x 5 m) just north of the first one were opened by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke and Willem Hantson (both K.U. Leuven). Initially, work was difficult one had to work through a big pile of stones, most likely dumped there by farmers clearing the flatter areas trying to create an arable area. However, these efforts were rewarded, as the remains of two kilns were discovered. The stratigraphically (higher) younger kiln was severely destroyed by the subsequent dumping of stones and by rodent activity (bioturbation). However, it belonged to a rather exceptional and Archaic type of kiln in which the oven floor was heated by means of rolls of clay, arranged in a radial way, of which only the hollow impression left after their removal was still visible.

The older kiln floor, however, was perfectly preserved: its slightly indented surface, where the clay kiln walls one had stood can still be seen, as well as a (partial) ring of stones bordering the kiln. On the surface that of the kiln floor numerous burnt patches and cracked limestone fragments were found. Covering this layer, several layers of later dumping were observed, consisting of a large number of fragments of burnt clay, often smoothed on one side (remains of kiln walls), charcoal, burnt bones, and a broken vessel, possibly once containing clay.

The relation between these two kilns and the walls retrieved in sector 1 is as yet not clear. A detailed study of the stratigraphy, the links between the loci distinguished and the analysis of the artifacts collected will enable to determine the date of these apparent potters' activities at Tepe Düzen.

Tepe Düzen 2

After three weeks of excavating at Tepe Düzen, the remains of a building of an impressive size--or a grouping of several smaller buildings--is slowly emerging from the excavated area. In a group of six 5 x 5 m sectors (2 only partially excavated so far) we can distinguish a rectangular room with a length of at least 5m, and possibly two more or less square rooms north of it. The walls of the building are nicely built with two clear faces made of larger limestone plaques put upright and a filling composed of smaller limestone rubble, like the walls that were found during the previous excavation campaigns at Tepe Düzen. The orientation of the building(s) as well is the same as the buildings excavated before, and like the previously excavated buildings, the walls (all first built during the oldest and second oldest phase, called phase 4 and 3 respectively) seem to have been reused during all the following occupational phases, normally spanning the later sixth to fourth centuries B.C.

The amount of finds retrieved from this area is huge compared to the artifacts from the previous excavation campaigns. The third layer, which must be connected to the so-called "second oldest occupational phase" (called phase 3 in the past), contains a large amount of finds, and several refuse pits, to be connected to the oldest and second oldest occupational phase, make it clear that the peak in the use of this building can be placed during the earlier part of the occupation of the site.

As refuse pits usually deliver the most interesting finds, this was also the case in the sectors excavated during the previous weeks. More cassiterite (see Geological Survey, July 6-17) was found throughout the building in all rooms, as well as some metal finds, pieces of worked bone (among which pieces of worked antler), and a part of a polished stone axe. The metal finds included above all pieces of weaponry such as a beautifully worked trowel shaped arrow head made of bronze, a long almost leaf-shaped spear head made of the same material, as well as an iron javelin head (see Find of the Week). The large amounts of cassiterite (after oxidized smelting it produced tin, which mixed with copper resulted in bronze) found inside the same building might explain the occurrence of the bronze weapons. Normally, from the Early Iron Age onward most offensive weapons such as arrow, spear, and javelin heads were made of iron, whereas bronze rather was the material for defensive weaponry (helmets, shields, greaves, cuirasses, etc.

During the next couple of weeks, the excavations in this building will continue, with the aim to its complete architectural plan and to determine the function(s) of the building and its rooms.

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