Alaca Hoyuk: A reassessment of the excavation and sequence of the Early Bronze Age settlement

Ayse Gursan-Salzmann, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is a critical assessment of the excavations undertaken in the 1930's by Hamit Kosay and Remzi O. Arik at Alaca Hoyuk, a major Early Bronze Age (EBA) settlement in north central Turkey. As a case study in archaeological reconstruction, it addresses problems and deficiencies in methodology, presentation and analysis of the excavated data. The process of reconstructing the settlement deals with the basic issues of (1) synthesizing all the available data which pertains to excavation strategy, (2) documenting the chronological sequence of building levels and the Royal Tombs (3) presenting them in plans and sections and (4) building a general framework to explain the evolution of the settlement. This analysis is primarily based on the combined evidence from stratigraphy, pottery, architecture and burial groups. Building upon the original pottery classification, a new typology is proposed which defines the pottery assemblages in terms of quantifiable dimensions and as correlates of shape and ware attributes. While the evidence from pottery is primarily used to build a chronological sequence for the settlement and as an indicator for cultural links within and between regions, it is also used to delineate activity areas within buildings. The architectural features reveal a continuous sequence of development from levels 12 to 4 in which the earlier levels are characterized by single or two-room houses with courtyards. Trends of change are documented toward the end of the EBA and during the transitional period when the house complexes become multifunctional and are built according to an overall plan. The Royal Tombs which are contemporary with the later EBA buildings yield evidence of social, gender and rank differentiation within the community, based on an analysis of the co-occurrence of different categories of objects associated with the buried persons. Thus, the reassessment of the archaeological record demonstrates cultural continuity throughout the EBA and in the following transitional period the stengthening of interregional ties between Central Anatolia, the West and Cilicia. It is suggested that during this period Alaca was part of a settlement system in north central Anatolia in which it played a significant role, primarily as a participant in metal production and exchange.

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Recommended Citation

Gursan-Salzmann, Ayse, "Alaca Hoyuk: A reassessment of the excavation and sequence of the Early Bronze Age settlement" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9227671.