Alaca Höyük Expedition and Department of Archaeology Begin Collaboration

10 November 2015 Comments Off on Alaca Höyük Expedition and Department of Archaeology Begin Collaboration

A new, long-term scientific joint venture was recently established between the Bilkent Department of Archaeology, represented by Asst. Prof. Thomas Zimmermann, and the Alaca Höyük excavations as represented by current project leader Dr. Aykut Çınaroğlu, professor emeritus at Ankara University.

Alaca Höyük has been excavated professionally since 1935, when the first generation of Turkish Republican archaeologists began the process. It is an iconic site, which highlights the emergence of the Hattian and Hittite civilizations in Anatolia. The famous ceremonial standards from the so-called “royal burials” there are still an ever-present symbol in Turkish daily life, as the old municipal logo of Ankara (still visible in sculptural form at Sihhiye Square) or on the labels of a well-known Turkish chocolate producer.

This new era in the long and fruitful history of research at Alaca Höyük will focus on the scientific dimension, including spectrographic analysis of metals, minerals and soils, to arrive at a better understanding of international trade networks in the 3rd and 2nd millenniums BCE.

“This collaboration will give our students a great opportunity not only to be trained onsite in excavation and documentation techniques, but also to engage in laboratory analysis of artifacts with the most up-to-date equipment available,” said Dr. Zimmermann, who celebrated the new joint venture with Prof. Çınaroğlu and the current Alaca research team.

Looking to the future of the excavations, there is a possibility that the Knauf Company, represented by Isabel Knauf, may become a new long-term sponsor for a huge array of exciting endeavors. Knauf has recently become one of the “backbones” of the Alaca expedition, donating various construction materials and substantial financial support. Such sponsorship invokes the spirit of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who personally initiated the Alaca Höyük excavations and contributed to the venture from his own funds.