(ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, FEBRUARY 10 - Numerous archaeological
excavations are underway at a huge site in Anatolia which will
uncover an ancient and rich yet forgotten kingdom known as
Tuwana from the darkness of history, which will be featured in
an open-air museum.
The news was reported by Lorenzo d'Alfonso, an Italian
archaeologist leading the joint mission by the University of
Pavia and NYU, who provided details on the excavation campaign
in a press conference in Istanbul this month, during which the
details of the Italian archaeological missions in Turkey were
This "new discovery" from the pre-classical age which "needs to
be continued" in southern Cappadocia took place in Kinik Hoyuk,
the scholar said, referring to a site mainly involving the
beginning of the first millennium BC. The area is "fully" part
of the "forgotten kingdom" of Tuwana, said d'Alfonso, known
until now through hieroglyphics and from several sources from
the Assyrian Empire, but "never studied archaeologically": "A
completely intact site that has been left untouched", trying to
"place it historically to understand which civilisation it
belonged to and what it's role was in the region".
Kinik Hoyuk, the archaeologist said, is "one of the major sites"
in terms of size in pre-classical Anatolia, if you leave the
capital of the Hittites out: the most conservative estimates say
that it spans 24 hectares "but topographers say that it could
cover 81 hectares". "A completely new mission" is working here,
jointly began last year by the University of Pavia and NYU,
which began collaborating with Turkish universities such as
Erzurum and Nigde.
"The site was uncovered by excavations conducted by several
colleagues, but its importance emerged in a campaign that we
conducted," said d'Alfonso, who said that "southern Cappadocia
is important because it controlled the Cilician Gates, or the
passageway between the East and the West and between Europe and
Asia": essentially, "one of the most important junctions" in the
world during that period and at the "centre" of which lies Kinik
Koyuk. Tuwana was a small buffer state between the Phrygian
kingdom and the Assyrian Empire "and this is why it was
particularly rich": "one of the great subjects of our study
involves the cultural richness of this kingdom," said D'Alfonso,
referring mainly to the development of the alphabet. He pointed
out that three steles from the Iron Age were uncovered in the
area, "which are not very well preserved", but which do say a
lot "about the importance that the site had".
The strategy of the excavation, said the archaeologist, was
guided by "geomagnetic surveys in 2010 which revealed
particularly significant remains of the acropolis wall and
buildings at the centre of the acropolis itself": "monumental"
walls excavated "to a height of 6 metres" in an outstanding
state of preservation (or at least which "are not easily
comparable to other pre-classical sites in Anatolia,
particularly the central region"). "Original plaster was found"
on the walls and we are planning on reinforcing it before
restorations take place" starting next year. The excavation
campaign was "planned from the very beginning to be transformed
into an open-air museum": Kinik Hoyuk, underlined D'Alfonso, is
"easily accessible". Its "strength" is that it is only 45
minutes from the major tourist attractions in Cappadocia (and
less than 2km from one of the major 4-lane roads in the region).
It is in the heart of a tourist route which is among the most
important in Turkey, and therefore, the archaeologist said, the
local government "fully supports the mission, seeing great
possibilities for development in it". (ANSAmed).