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Chapter 5: Neolithic 3 Tell Turlu (Pages 322-324)

Pre-History and Archaeology Glossary

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Tell Turlu lies about 45 kilometres east of Gaziantep on the road to Nizip (See Page 70 in *1 Below). It is a substantial mound with a long sequence of late prehistoric occupation as well as other material. Perrot sounded the site in 1962 and established that the earliest settlement of levels 1 and 2 had been founded on the natural subsoil (See Page 156 in *2 Below). These levels were stratified beneath levels 3 and 4 from which Halaf pottery was recovered. The houses in levels 1 and 2 and also levels 3 to 6 above were circular and built of stone with silos nearby.

The excavation has not been pubished so that we do not know the full range of what was found there. I have seen a little of the material in the Gaziantep Museum and so can describe some of the pottery and flints. The main class of pottery in levels 1 and 2 was a buff or brown coarse ware with straw filler, some vessels of which were lightly burnished. A few vessels of this buff ware had been painted with red and black lines. There was also a quite hard fired dark ware coloured grey, black or occasionally red and then well burnished. Hole-mouth jars or jars with everted rims and collared jars were made in both wares; some of these vessels had flat bases.

The stone artifacts included a number of polished greenstone axes as well as many flint and obsidian tools. Most of the flint tools were made on broad blades and large flakes. Flake side-scrapers and end-scrapers on blades were quite common as were borers on blades. Some of the sickle blades had nibbled edges with no other retouch but most were segmented and backed with abrupt retouch. The assemblage included a few pressure-flaked tanged arrowheads.

The dark burnished pottery at Tell Turlu may be compared with that in Amuq A and B but we must remember that this kind of pottery was in use on sites over a wide area for a long period. The coarse buff ware also may be compared with Amuq types though it is more like the plain ware at Sakcagozu. The flints, with the exception of the arrowheads, differ from Amuq A and B in the use of large flakes and broad blades as well as segmented sickle blades, a trait that is found in the Amuq in later phases. The Tell Turlu flints do resemble quite closely the little material we know of from Sakcagozu.

The settlement of Tell Turlu levels 1 and 2 was on stratigraphic evidence occupied before Halaf. The pottery and flints may be compared with Neolithic material in the Amuq and at Sakcagozu but on the evidence of the flint industry it would appear that the site was occupied late in this stage. The material is more like that from Sakcagozu than the Amuq which suggests that Tell Turlu also lies on the fringe of the North Syrian group of Neolithic 3 sites.

A survey of ancient sites was carried out in the spring of 1939 on the plain between Aleppo and Meskene and north-east as far as Membij (See Page 18 in *3 Below). The area is studded with tells most of which were found to have been occupied in late prehistoric and historic times. Two sites, Judaidah Jabbul and Sheikh Ahmed, were thought to have been occupied earlier than any of the others (See Page 24 ibid). It is possible that some of the larger tells may also conceal early settlements within their bulk but artifacts typical of these deposits were not exposed on their surfaces. The earliest pottery noted at Judaidah Jabbul and Sheikh Ahmed was Ubaid and Halaf with, in addition, a red or black painted buff ware (See Figures 15, 16 and 17). It is not known for certain if there are Neolithic deposits at Sheikh Ahmed but, having visited Judaidah Jabbul myself, I am certain that this site was occupied in pre-Halaf times ...

*1 The Chronology of North Syria and North
Mesopotamia From 10,000 BC to 2000 BC

P. Watson (1965) [Pages 61 - 100] in
Chronologies in Old World Archaeology
Library of Congress # D 54.5 E4

*2 Archaeology in Asia Minor (1964)
M. Mellink in Volume 68 [Pages 149 - 166]
American Journal of Archeology

*3 An Archaeological Survey of the Plain of Jabbul
Maxwell Hyslop et al (1942) [Pages 8 - 40]
Palestine Exploration Quarterly
Library of Congress # DS 111 A1 Q57

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium