Reflecting the rich historical culture of Anatolian lands, Malatya, which witnessed the establishment of the first city-state, is experiencing the joy of inclusion of Arslantepe Mound on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Arslantepe, which is accepted as the place where the aristocracy was born and the first state form emerged, and which was included in the UNESCO "World Heritage Tentative List" about 7 years ago, was included in the World Heritage List at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee, hosted by China. .
Arslantepe Mound or Melid is 7 km from Malatya. It is an archaeological settlement located in the northeast. It is one of the largest mounds in Turkey. The mound is to the west of the Karakaya Dam Lake on the Euphrates. The mound, at a height of thirty meters, was inhabited from 5 thousand BC to the 11th century AD. The area was used as a Roman village in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, and later as a Byzantine necropolis. The settlement area measures 200 x 120 meters.
Excavations in the area began in 1932 by a French team under the direction of Louis Delaporte and were carried out especially in the Late Hittite layers. Excavations aimed to reach the capital of one of the kingdoms established in the region after the collapse of the Hittite Empire. Although several deep soundings were made later, the main regular excavations were started in 1961 by a group from the Sapienza University of Rome. Until the 1970s, excavations were conducted under the direction of Alba Palmieri. The ongoing excavations today are coordinated by Marcella Frangipane.
Two lions and a king statue found in the excavations are exhibited in Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
During the excavations, a temple from 3.600-3.500 BC, a palace from 3.300-3.000 BC, many seals and expertly made metal objects were found. All these finds show that the settlement was an aristocratic political, religious and cultural center at that time. The finds, apart from the artifacts exhibited in the Ankara Anatolian Civilizations Museum, are exhibited in the Arslantepe Open Air Museum. The seals are remarkable in that they show that the settlement was a commercial center.
During the settlement period, water resources were abundant, but it was outside the Euphrates floodplain. In this way, the settlement, which had very suitable lands for agriculture, was ruled by a local ruling class. This ruling class held both political, economic and religious power. As such, it is the first city-state in Anatolia.
At the end of the 4th millennium BC, a large urban area with mudbrick monumental structures spread over the southwestern slope of the mound. The presence of many seals on these monumental structures shows that this building complex was an administrative center. The seals were probably used during the storage and transportation of various goods, and the building complex as such is seen as a palace economic center.
In addition, arsenic-copper alloy, silver inlaid sharp-piercing weapons were found in the palace complex. The tomb, located near the palace and dated to 2.900 BC, is thought to be a royal tomb. Valuable burial gifts were found in the tomb, and four young sacrificed human corpses were found on the stone cover that closed the tomb.
It is understood that there were extensive fires in the settlement after the Late Uruk Period (3.400-3.200 BC. After that, Eastern Anatolian-Transcaucasian cultural influences were dominant in the city, where people from different cultures settled. The pottery and settlement layout obtained in the archaeological studies show this. It is likely that the new settlers are thought to be small semi-nomadic communities.
Between 2.700 and 2.500 BC, the city developed a unique cultural structure by breaking away from the Syrian-Mesopotamian culture. Starting from 2 thousand BC, the city came under the influence of the expanding Hittite Empire. It was used as a base during the expedition of the Hittite King Suppiluliuma I to Washukanni, the capital of Mittani. Kammanu, one of the Late Hittite kingdoms established after the collapse of the Hittite Empire, became its capital. In these dates, the name of the city is mentioned as Melid in Assyrian documents. The kingdom that took the city as its capital was known as Kammanu or the Kingdom of Melid.
The region, which had to pay tribute to this state as a result of the attack of Tiglat-Pileser, the ruler of the Assyrian Empire, II. It managed to preserve its existence and wealth until 712 BC, when it was captured and plundered by Sargon. From this date until the 5th century AD, it was not inhabited.
Added to the World Heritage Tentative List in 2014, Arslantepe was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List with the decision taken at the 26th World Heritage Committee meeting on 2021 July 44.