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Lecture by Ömür Harmanşah: The Archaeology of Anatolian Landscapes: Politics of Water and Ecology in the Hittite Borderlands?
In the last few centuries of the Hittite Empire, the karstic watery landscapes of Çavuşçu Lake Basins to the west of the Konya Plain witnessed the construction of a prestigious, imperially sponsored monument at a prominent spring in the rural countryside: Tudhaliya IV’s sacred pool complex at Yalburt Yaylası near the Çavuşçu Lake. This impressive monument accidentally discovered and excavated in 1970s, featured a lengthy commemorative inscription of the king, linking the site to Tudhaliya’s military campaigns to Lycia. Yalburt Monument is situated on a mountaintop in a borderland region south of the Hittite Upper Land and was located on the imperial road to the Mediterranean. The same king initiated the construction of a massive earthen dam at Köylütolu Yayla, only about 20 km south of Yalburt. Studying the agricultural landscape and the settlement history in the vicinity of these two monuments have shown that the Hittite imperial administration was interested in an agricultural rehabilitation program in this borderland region, right before the collapse of the empire. A series of well-preserved Hittite fortresses were also built in this landscape, and the material evidence from several mound sites point to the close affiliation of ceramic production with Hittite palatial culture. In this paper I discuss the results of the Yalburt Yaylası Archaeological Survey project that I have directed since 2010 in 8 archaeological field seasons, and discuss the politics of water, agriculture and land-use in the Hittite Empire.

Apr 11, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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