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Giant storage jars unearthed at Kultepe

Three massive 4,000-year-old storage jars or pithoi have been unearthed during excavations in the Kanis-Kultepe-Karum archaeological site in the central Turkish province of Kayseri.

Giant storage jars unearthed at Kultepe

The three pithoi, which have a capacity of about 2.5 to 3 tons each, were discovered in the southern section of the palace area.

The head of the excavations, Ankara University Professor Fikri Kulakoglu, said that during works in the southern part of the excavation site, they had found the pithoi of varying sizes next to each other.

Giant storage jars unearthed at Kultepe

He said two of the pithoi had been unearthed up to their top portions, while works were continuing for the removal of the third one. The excavations in Kultepe frequently reveal surprises every year, but this is the first time something like the massive pithoi have been discovered, he said.

“Because the third pithos has received a lot of damage, we did not want to remove the earth on it in the initial stage. We saw that the top parts of the other two pithoi were broken and that the broken pieces had fallen into the jars. We removed these pieces and numbered them. When the work is done, we will try to repair them,” said Kulakoglu.

Giant storage jars unearthed at Kultepe

The professor said the initial examinations showed that people had repaired the pithoi with lead 4,000 years ago instead of throwing the broken portions away. “It is also significant that the pithoi were repaired in their original location,” he added.

Kulakoglu said the examinations also showed that the pithoi had been used to keep grain and that they had taken samples to find out what exactly had been stored in them. “Archaeobotany experts will be able to find out what was in them,” he said.

Giant storage jars unearthed at Kultepe

The professor said it would have been impossible to produce the giant pithoi elsewhere before bringing them to their current resting place. “We believe that they were produced on site, which was the storage unit of the palace administrator. After finding the pithoi, we [[consulted experts who]] told us that the pithoi had been produced on a wheel ... within a few days. We discovered that they were not produced as a whole but in pieces. Then these pieces were joined.”

Kulakoglu said the pithoi were likely fired in a furnace created in a nearby field. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [September 24, 2015]

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