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Ancient BüyükTepe Höyük

Excavations at Büyüktepe Höyük (1991): Second Preliminary Report

Early Bronze Age

The Early Bronze Age deposit appears to represent the remains of a temporary encampment. The best preserved dwelling had been dug out of the soft bedrock and consisted of three roughly circular depressions, two of which may have been living areas. The third, at a slightly higher level, is a wide platform perhaps used for sleeping or storage purposes. At the opposite end of the dwelling an internal hearth with associated pottery was uncovered. A row of stones, found in situ in the front of this, probably held down the tent covers. In a second tent site was found a plastered hearth area on which was probably positioned an andiron with an anthropomorphic representation, a typical feature of Early Transcaucasian dwellings. A fragment of one such andiron was found nearby. Two adjoining pits also cut into the bedrock were filled with sherds and ash (1).

An unusual secondary burial was found in Square R35a consisting of a skull placed in a small pit. A hole had been made in one side of the cranium within which were placed small bones including human ribs (ibid).

Early Transcaucasian pottery is characteristic of this period: handmade, medium to coarse grit tempered with the surfaces slipped, then smoothed or burnished. The exterior is usually black and the interior red. Decoration is not common although one fragment has a lozenge design impressed on it and a fragment of a jar neck has a centered circle motif. A flat discoid lid is also characteristic of these assemblages. Radiocarbon dates are in the range 3303-2615 and 2863-2330 BC (ibid).

Second Millennium BC

The isolated hearth area of a temporary encampment in Square S34a is the only evidence of second millennium occupation. A radiocarbon date of 1680-1310 BC comes from this hearth. A small amount of pottery was recovered. One fragment is wheelmade with a jagged incised design and vertical striations. A loop handled vessel is wheelmade and burnished, while a high ring base is handmade (ibid).

(1) BüyükTepe Höyük by Antonio Sagona (University of Melbourne)

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