Provenance of the materials used to make some Late Hittite Monuments at the Karatepe-Aslantas and Domuztepe sites, Cilicia (southern Turkey)

Kelling G., KADİR S., Kapur S., AKÇA E., YEĞİNGİL Z. , EREN M.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL SCIENCES, cilt.12, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 12 Konu: 12
  • Basım Tarihi: 2020
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1007/s12520-020-01232-w


The provenance of the basaltic raw material source(s) used by Hittite sculptors to create the monuments at Karatepe-Aslantas, Turkey, has been investigated by means of polarising and scanning electron microscopy and image analysis to determine their mineralogy, textural properties and geochemical composition. Information concerning the weathering history of these chemically co-genetic basaltic lavas has been gained using the kaolinisation/plagioclase ratios versus TL values. In total, the results reveal that raw material sources (RMS) in the Domuztepe source area were used by Late Hittite craftsmen for the production of the Karatepe-Aslantas artefacts, whereas the nearby massive and nonporous Sabunsuyu RMS were not exploited, most probably due to their petrographic properties. The distance of Domuztepe to the Karatepe-Aslantas site reflects the great physical effort exerted in regard to the transportation of the raw materials from Domuztepe. This in turn provides information on the skills, expertise and knowhow and the social eligibility of the contemporary Late Hittite society and their views in choices concerning their perception on the use of the correct raw materials. The distance also suggests the use of the nearby river currents for the transport of the raw materials. The problems encountered in determining the precise RMS used in making these artefacts, especially the statue of the Storm God, emphasize the need for further studies. In this respect, the weathering patterns of each mineral should be studied in the basaltic specimens in this paper and of many others to be collected from adjacent regions occupied by the Late Hittite peoples.