Expedition News – Winter 1963

Originally Published in 1963

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Three major problems occupied the attention of the Hasanlu staff during the past summer. These were: (1) the clarification of the seventh-sixth century materials of Period III (the “Triangle Ware Phase”); (2) excavation of a new quarter of the ninth century Citadel; and (3) a probe into the underlying levels of the second millennium. The results of all three investigations were satisfactory and a preliminary appraisal suggests that the new information indicates that Hasanlu is a far more important site than had been thought. This sug­gested conclusion stems from the discovery of a new stratum, dating to around 1500 B.C., below the grey pottery “Button-base Phase.” It is charac­terized by a buff ware painted with red bands and triangles—a pottery common in design and form to that of northern Mesopotamia of the same period. This pottery would appear to be the remnant of a “Hurrian” or related occupation of Hasanlu.

The new excavations show, furthermore, that this north Mesopotamian occupation was abruptly terminated by the appearance of a grey-ware culture characterized by distinctive tankards with button or disc bases, but otherwise sharing all of the main ceramic wares with the following period. We have, therefore, the sudden appearance of an alien culture around the end of the thirteenth or beginning of the twelfth century B.C. This Button-base Phase appears as the forerunner of the greatly expanded culture of the following Grey Ware Phase dating to the tenth-ninth century B.C. The ceramics of this later culture, as now visible in the accumulated results of this and previous summers’ work, appear to be related typologically to the Hallstatt Iron Age pottery of Central Europe and the Balkans.

A third major Burned Building was uncovered, clearly of a domestic nature yet preserving the essential features of the two larger Burned Buildings already excavated. The building plan seems to combine certain North Syrian features with features customarily associated with the megaron type of house. To add to the general indication that we may be dealing here with an Indo-European intrusion into what is known historically as the Mannaean area, we have now discovered an elaborate Citadel entrance on the west with extended walls running down the slope to protect the two approaching roads. The plan, only generally indicated at present, stands in contrast to the more characteristic gates in Mesopotamia which are set into the fortification walls themselves.

There are historical arguments for placing the Persians in this area upon their entry into Iran but the date suggested has usually been in the ninth-eighth century B.C., at which time they controlled part of the Mannaean area and even had Assyrian governors. It begins to look as if these three cultural groups are represented at Hasanlu in our Period IV. Should this appearance be substantiated by closer study, we should have, for the first time, one of the two possible indications of the arrival of the Persians in Iran, the other being the newly discovered Marlik Tepe farther to the east.

George Bass writes: “While visiting Bodrum to pick up supplies for our underwater excavation of the Byzantine shipwreck, I visited the coffee house so often used by Peter Throckmorton when he was questioning sponge divers about the locations of ancient wrecks. This time we made quite a land find! One of the villagers brought a vase to me for identification, and at first I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was certainly Mycenaean, but I knew that only two Mycenaean sites are known in all of western Turkey. Later I visited the spot where the vase was found, accompanied by Machteld Mellink and Haluk Elbe, our commissioner, and we saw at least six opened Mycenaean chamber tombs. Pottery and beads from the tombs indicate for the first time that Caria was inhabited in the Late Bronze Age, although this runs counter to the results of a number of thorough explorations of the area. A month later, I visited the same coffee shop and this time was shown a jeep full of Late Protogeomettic, or Iron Age, pottery—again a rather unusual find for Caria. This came from a stone-lined tomb not far away. We wonder what other wonderful finds will come out of this coffee house.”

Leaving in December, 1961, G. R. Edwards embarked on activities in Corinth, at Gordian in Turkey, and at Curium in Cyprus. The focus in Corinth was on the preparation of a publication of Corinthian pottery of the Hellenistic Period primarily derived from a large public building, the South Stoa, destroyed by the Roman general Mummius in 146 B.C. The chronology of the archaeological objects of this advanced period is almost as little understood by archaeologists as perhaps that of Paleolithic times. Hence the publication of this pottery, connected with a firmly dated historical event, should shed light on a problematic and too little known historical period.

Ten weeks in Gordian extended the Phrygian level and overlying layers on the City Mound to the south, west, and north, and saw the excavation of a potential site on the slopes not far from the “Midas Mound” for the placement of a Gordion Museum which may take the form of one of the great Phrygian buildings excavated in 1959-1961 (see Expedition, Vol. 4, No. 4). Highlights of this short season will appear in a subsequent number.

At Curium during the summer, Dr. Edwards collaborated with Professor Robert L. Scranton of the University of Chicago toward a publication of the architecture of the Sanctuary of Apollo excavated by the late George H. McFadden, and as a byproduct assembled the necessary excavation data toward a publication of the inscriptions of Curium prepared by Professor Terence Mitford of St. Andrews, Scotland, which will shortly be ready to submit to the American Philosophical Society for publication.

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"Expedition News – Winter 1963." Expedition Magazine 5, no. 2 (January, 1963): -. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/expedition-news-winter-1963/

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