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Religious center of Hittites comes to light

The 11th archaeological excavation season has recently begun in the ancient city of Nerik, recognized as the religious center of the Hittites, in the northern Turkish province of Samsun.

Religious center of Hittites comes to light
Excavations at the ancient city of Nerik [Credit: AA]
This season the works are being carried out by 30 people, headed by German archaeologist Prof. Rainer Maria Czichon, the head of the Uşak University Archaeological Department.

Czichon said excavations were first initiated in the ancient city 2005, after geophysical exploration.

He said they had deepened the works since 2007 and unearthed various finds, adding, “Since this is a prehistoric era settlement, we find lots of stone and loom artifacts because Anatolia has always been a production place.”

The professor said they had also unearthed many mining tools, which were for copper deposits in the Tavşan Mountain field.

He said among the most valuable findings were cuneiform tablets. “Only in this place in Samsun do cuneiform tablets exist. Looking at these findings, we can definitely say that this is Nerik,” he added.

Czichon said that Nerik was a Hittite-era city and had relations with Hattusa.

“More than 20,000 tablets have been unearthed in Hattusa in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum. Among them were ones about Nerik. It is mentioned as the religious center of the Hittites... All the kings came here from Hattusa during festivals. They made vows and gave gifts to the god of air.”

Czichon also said they had also found an inventory list, in addition to the cuneiform tablets.

“The tools used in the shrine are listed. Among them are silver trays and gold god symbols. Of course we don’t know where this shrine is but we think that this list belongs to this shrine,” he said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [August 14, 2016]

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