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The Hittite Empire

First Introduction to Anatolian archaeology: Hittite kingdom is really the first major imperial entity that had its core territories on the Central Anatolian Plateau. The importance of excavations in Hittite sites especially on the Halys-Kizilirmak basin the ideology of the early Modern Turkish State and Ataturk. The monument in Ankara. Splitting ties with the Ottoman past embedded in Istanbul but venturing in a new project of modernism in Ankara.

Excavations at Alacahoyuk. Most prominent evidence comes from Alacahoyuk, some 200 km N of Turkish capital Ankara; where thirteen monumental royal shaft graves were excavated which revealed some spectatular grave goods including ritual objects, libation vessels, jewellery, weapons as swords and daggers, and animal stands.

Landscape: Central Anatolian plateau, the Cappodocian highlands, the Black Sea with very high annual rainfall, Eastern mountainous landscapes, the Western Anatolia’s river valleys. Usually from the very beginning an agriculturally and pastorally motivated populations, heavily depende nt on rural settlements, small towns, villages and farmsteads. The first evidence of urbanism in the sense that we understand by Mesopotamian standards hardly comes in before the Middle Bronze age

Old Assyrian trade and Kultepe

In the first centuries of the 2nd millennium BC, in the Old Assyrian period, which I briefly mentioned in previous classes, roughly contemporary with the heyday of Mari, and the Mari palace, and Shamshi-Adad an active ruler in Northern mesopotamia, who was establishing new cities like Tell al Rimah and Tell Leilan which we looked at, and also even Hammurabi as you remember, the King of Babylon; we see that an intense trading network was established between the city of Assur and Assyria of Northern Iraq, and the central Anatolian plateau. Old Assyrian trade network was composed of karum and wabartum settlements, developed as twin cities with existing urban settlements in Anatolia, which were major urban centers of metallurgical production and trade (especially silver, gold, tin and copper). Kaneš with its karum was more or less the center of this network in Anatolia, and possibly the trading network constituted a socio-spatial and economic framework for the centralized organization of the Anatolian plateau under the Hittites. In fact there is a direct historical link detected between the Nešite inhabitants of Kaneš and the founder line of dynasts at Hattuša.

But Kultepe was not the only trading settlement in Anatolia, there were several of them: The cuneiform tablets from ancient Kanesh show that the Anatolian plateau at this time period (ca 2000-1750 BC) was “divided into independent city-states governed by princes, whose relations were characterized by a shifting balance of alliance and feuds.”, and Assyrian merchants lived in the karum or wabartum settlements attached to some of these native Anatolian cities. The larger ones were called karum, a large trading port like Kanesh, and smaller trading posts were mentioned as wabatum.

Gurney’s chart. Tin as raw material to form bronze by combining it with copper, to make weapons, as well as textiles came from Mesopotamia, while preciaous metals like silver and gold were sent back to Assyria in return.

The fascinating side of this strange economic realtionship is the fact that by the initiation of this intensive exchange of resouces, the local populations in Anatolia were forced to orderly expoit the natural resources that the environment offered, and being connected to the larger economical networks, they have developed the political hinterlands, leading into a more complicated –sophisticated social organization through these gateway communities, who channeled prosperity into the plateau. It is exactly from this socio-political background comes the origin of the great Hittite empire. This network between the small independent city states would later be used as a network of urban centers in the large territorial political structure of the Hittite geography.


There is one prominent site that was excavated in Cappodocia in Turkey, in South central Anatolia near Kayseri named Kultepe, ancient Kanesh. Thousands of cuneiform tablets as economic transaction documents that were found at the site provide our most comprehensive written documents of the time period. The site comprises a high circular city mound on a natural hill, and a lower city. The city becomes reallyprosperous in around 1920-1850, startigraphically called Karum II. The circular upper town with palaces and temples were the seat of the local inhabitants of Anatolia, while the Assyrian merchants lived in the lower city, named karum, the trading post. From evidence from earlier strata, archaeologists have suggested that Kultepe was already involved in interregional trade even before the establishment of the karum in the city.

Formation of the Hittite State

But apart from this point, Early Hittite history is closely tied to Kültepe-Kanesh, The native population of the early 2nd mill. Anatolian identified from the texts belonging to Hittite, Hurrian or Hattian language groups. Hittites were probably dominant at Kanes as an ethnic majority, arguing for the point that Hittites called their language later “Nesite”, language of the people from Nesa (Kanes). Hattus (earlier Hattian name for Hattusa) used to be the center of the Land of Hatti prior to Hittites and the excavations located an Assyrian merchant colony at Bogazkoy with some 6o cuneiform tablets. This Nesihite, that is later Hittite was probably the lingua franca among these trading settlements, which had some economic competetion themselves.

The core territory of the Hittite kingdom lay in the Northern half of the Central Anatolian plateau in the curve of the Kizil Irmak river. The region was centered by its major settlement, Hattusha (at modern town of Bogazköy, and Hattusha was both the administrative and especially the ceremonial capital of the empire almost throughout the Late Bronze Age until the disintegration of the empire around 1200 BC.

Languages and cultural geography of the empire

Hittite subjects spoke a number of different languages Hittite itself is an Indo-European language, related to ancient Greek. The official lingua franca between the LBA states was essentially Akkadian, and that was one of the predominant languages in the state capital. Hittite however used state administration, letters and monumental inscriptions. Used both cuneiform writing system adopted from mesopotamia and also a hieroglyphic system similar to Egypt. Luwian was pretty much what was spoken by a large group of rural populations especially in the south and southwest Anatolia. Hurrian also was an important language as the empire grew to the East. From Boğazköy we have evidence for a number of other languages as Hattic and Palaic. These are only known through ritual texts. This is an important point about the issue of empire: a modern nations state is usually based on the ideology of single language and tries to assimilate the minorty languages whereas in the Hittite empire negotiation and tolerations seems to be much more common. Whe the empire grew, a lot of minority populations speaking different langiuages were incorporated to the empire. This incorporation involved the bringing of their cults to the ceremonial center of the empire: Hattuša. So a particular ritual practice, let’s say in the land of Pala, was performed in Hattuša: the textual description of how rituals would be carried out would in Hittite but the specific expressions used in the ritual were not translated. Thos small ritualistic expressions are the only bits we know of these obscure languages from Hittite Anatolia.

Hittite Old kingdom: 1750-1500 BC
Middle Kingdom (an interregnum) 1500-1430 BC
Early Hittite Empire 1430-1360 BC
Hittite Empire period 1360- 1175 BC.

We will essentially forcus on the last two centuries of the empire, from where we have most of the archaeological evidence. The landscape of the empire: general structure. Ahhiyawa, Kizzuwatna, Kaška, Lukka Lands, Hulaya River Valley. Settlement pattern: the ceremonial center as Hattuša, the state capital also cultic essentailly. Then other mountaintop sanctuary sites. The travels of the king. Major regional centers, I will show a few examples at the end. Fortresses across the mountainous landscape, vassal kings in further lands: Syria, Malatya, Ahhiyawa: agricultural settlements.

Rock reliefs

Demarcation of the landscape by means of rock reliefs. Gavurkalesi, 60 kilometers southwest of Ankara. Sirkeli, Fraktın (Erciyes Dağ). Narrativization and ceremonialization of landscape. Often associated with fortresses: spring sanctuaries and major Hittite roads across Anatolia.


Southeast of Konya. A spring sanctuary site. Dated from its relief to the 2nd half of 13th c. probably Tudhaliya IV. An artificial pond and a strange ashlar masonry cultic structure north of it, decorated with reliefs of an enormous winged sun disk, supported by two heraldic hybrid creatures.


Perfect study guide:

Hattusha (at modern town of Bogazköy, and Hattusha was both the administrative and especially the ceremonial capital of the empire almost throughout the Late Bronze Age. Today if you visit, it is one of the largest and most impressive cities of the ancient capitals.

1907 The first excavations of the German Institute of Archaeology and the German Oriental Society begin; field directors include Otto Puchstein as well as Winckler and Makridi. The first real documentation of the ruins, complete with many plans and photos, is compiled and a more accurate topographic map prepared. Famously Kurt Bittel (through 1977), Peter Neve (1978-1993) and now recently Jürgen Seeher.

The natural advantages of the site of Hattusha is impressive. First of all its location is very crucial in the main ancient route that connected the Cappadocian highlands to the Black Sea region which was also very effectively participating in the Old Assyrian trade with the famous city Zalpa, probably located in the Bafra plain near Samsun. The site of Hattusha itself stands as a natural stronghold at the end of a wide and fertile valley and supplied with an abundance of water. The domain of the city is set off from its surroundings by deep gorges carrying water throughout the year, and the access to the city was easy to control through these valley corridors.

The city consisted of several different parts to it, several diffrent urban components, and through the study of them we will note the various periods in Hittite history. It is impossible to give you neither any sufficient account of the Hittite history, its socio-cultural history or the archaeological problems of the site: but a summary.

Urban structure of Hattusha, it is largely identified in the duality of Upper city and a Lower city. Lower city with its citadel Büyükkale and its lower town, developed early on within the Old Kingdom and the Early Empire, while the Upper Town was built by the last two Hittite Kings in the 14th and 13th c. BC as a large ceremonial center with more than 25 temples: as a temple-city, where all the local Gods in the Hittite lands were brought together and converged into a divine assembly.

In 19th and 18th c. theAssyrian trading colony at Hattusha was at the site of Büyükkale and the lower part just to the NW where the Great temple was built later, and functioned until it was destroyed by Anitta of Kussara ca 1700 BC. Even though cursed by the Kussara kings, the Hittite king Hattusili I moved his seat/capital to Hattusa and built the town up with a great building program. The town extended NWwards from the Büyükkale toewards the modern village of Bogazköy. The Town was expanded enormously in the Early Kingdom.

The archaeological evidence about the building activities in 16th and 15th centuries in the Old Kingdom is rather flimsy, even though from the texts we know that the king Hattushili carried out a massive building campaign here, mostly concentrating on Buyukkale, the fortress that stood just above the Lower Town. The whole Lower Town was walled towards the end of 16th century, while the massive fortress of Buyukkaya was towering over it.

At the time of the last kings Tudhaliya IV and Suppuliluima II, it was a mere seat of the king with temple quarters. The city population was settled in the periphery of the town, probably mostly outside the extended city wall, which covered 2 km2s=200 ha. The site is destroyed by flagration ca 1190 BC and abandoned until a small Phrygian community settled on the Büyükkale, Nisantepe and lower NW slopes (Lower city) as well as Büyükkaya in 8th c. BC. survived until 6th c. Südburg (south castle, a well fortified stronghold).


As a major natural rock outcrop it has always been the Hittite kings favorite place to have his residence but we should not forget that the Hittite King was always a dynamic man who travelled a lot. he had several other palaces in other cities which he often travelled and visited. He is often known to have spent his winters in other cities. This was also an ideological motive.

Buyukkale was from the beginning housed the royal seat. Most of what we know of ts architecture is the 14th and 13th c. constructions, arranged around a lower court, middle court and upper cout, really spacious terraces. All of these buildings survive in the foundation level, and all are proved to be multi storey buildings and it is very hard to understand their superstructure plans, which might habve been quite distictive in comparison to their foundational plans. Main enrance to the complex is from south, the so-called citadel gate. A complicated set of courtyard terraces and buildings of various functions around them. Court of the Citadel gate, Lower and Upper courts. The transition between these massive urban spaces were through monumental gateways which were crucial structures especially ceremonially.

Access through a viaduct, and the South Gate, main entrance was flanked by 2 lions. The Lower Court of the Citadel surrounded by colonnades. M,N,H, G,A residences of palace officials, and most importantly that of the "Bearers of the Golden Lances," i.e. the palace guard.

I would like to take your interest to the gate house that connected the lower terrace and the middle terrace E-hilammar, which will become a widely used architectural term and form in the Iron age.

Alacahöyük sphinx gate and the KI.LAM festival.

At the north-western end of this court lay Building D, the upper floor of which is thought to have served as the King's reception hall. This hall would have had a direct entrance through a portal (10) opening off the Central Court.

The buildings E, A and K contained the royal archives where cuneiform clay tablets were found. “These archives have played a most important role in our research of Hittite history. The hundreds of tablets that had been stored on wooden shelves here have perpetuated not only contracts and official documents, but oracular prophecies, instruction in cult practice, folklore, collections of legal decisions and historical texts as well.” (Hattusha website).

Great Temple complex of the Storm God. Temple I

Temple stands on an artificial terrace. The main gate/portal is to the SE. with a large open public space in front of it. The core rectangle was the main sanctuary with its own central ceremonial court. Several magazins surround the moin sanctuary area sepatrated with wide corridors. The sanctuary has double shrines, one with a statue base. The roof of the sanctuary might have been used while the surrounding magazins were 2 and 3 storeys high. The temple is suggested to have been dedicated to the Sun-Goddess Arinna and the Weather God of Hatti. The sanctuary area has a pillared entrance. The lower levels beneath this 13th century (re)building is unknown since the artificial terracing was made with large boulders which could not be excavated without dismantling the 13th c, structure. The area to the NW comprises houses from 15th century.

In the northern storehouses no pithoi were found while several clumps of clay and seal impressed bullae were found as well as some with string holes and impressions of textile. The seals belong to the officials of the state, princis of a royal house also two great kings Muwatalli and Hattusili III. majority of the seals from the reign of Hattusili III.

Across the street lies Building B. Texts indicate the presence of workshops, places where cult implements were kept, kitchens and bakeries for the ceremonial meals prepared regularly for the gods, also offices of administrational nd for the scribes. In a corridor in the Building B complex, a tablet was found listing the members of a É Gish Kin Ti, house of work; of priests, singers, female musicians, scribes, writing on clay and scribes writing on wood. Bronze stylei were also found in the complex. A number of pavement stones also carry names of scribes incised. From this evidence it seems likely that Building B complex served for the scribes but not necessarily this was its sole function.

Another discussion is the halentuwa house where the royal couple (the king and the queen) put on their ritual dress and emerged from this house to go into the temple gate, wash their hands in the outer courtyard and enter the temple during the ceremonies. Bittel argues that the freestanding house like building acroos from the temple’s main gate to the south, quite large. In its basement a great number of literary Hittite tablets were found.

Stone at Hattusha

What we are really seeing in Hittite architecture here then is that they have discovered the advantages of the monumental use of stone from the very beginning, not only its structural strength, but also its sculptural possibilities that it offers, that lead to the creation of Hittite monumental sculptural reliefs generally associated with gates, also in the form of protecting the buildings from surface water, in the form of using raised foundations, socles or orthostats.

City wall and dromos

The construction of the city wall is impressive, which is an 8m thick wall on an artificial rampart and a high substructure of coarse masonry built with an inner and outer face connected with cross walls. This is no ordinary construction. Inside was filled with rubble: creating what we call a casemate wall construction. The wall generally had a steep inclination due to defensive purposes called the glacis. A mudbrick superstructure rose upon this already impressive stone foundation. For military purposes, posterns were builtthrough this wall in vertain places, generally near major gates; using corbelled arch technique, subterrannean passages by using the arching-vaulting strenth of large stone blocks.

The best and most monumental example of this casemate technique is found on the southern wall of Buyukkale. The walls also were punctuated by towers and bastions on the outside in regular 30 m intervals.

Immediately after 1400 BC, in the beginnings of 14th c. BC, the city was extended massively to another major lobe to the south covering a 120 ha (300 acres) area, covering a much higher exposed hillside, the circumference of the city not measure about 7 km in length.

Gates of the Upper City

The walls made very skillfull use of the landscpe, following the contours. A number of ceremonial, monumental gates were built: the Lion Gate to the West, the King’s gate to the East and the Sphinx gate (Yerkapi) to the South, all named after their relief carving decorations on them.

The gate structures had flanking towers and two portals, the outer set deep within the wall, the inner flush with it on the inner town side. The portals were made of large monolithic stone pillars corbelled over so as to form an elliptical archway. In this way, the Hittite gate structures are very much alikened to the Mycenean corbelled arch technique. There definitely was a dialogue between them. The monoliths then had relief sculpture carved on them.

The Sphinx gate was very strategicaly designed however with two monumental symmetrical staircases on the outside from where you reached the top of the artificial rampart. And a dromos in the middle.

The tunnels were of corbeled masonry like the passageway in the Upper City at Yerkapı, which you can walk through during your visit. The function of these posterns remains open to interpretation. Their earlier identification as sally ports, through which one could run out and attack the besieging enemy from the rear, gave rise to the name postern, from the Latin posterula ( = back- or side door). There must, however, be more behind this phenomenon, for certainly the Hittites would have better camouflaged sally ports.

Temples of the Upper city

The building activity in the Upper town, i.e. the building of at least 25 more temples, building up of the entire temple quarter in Hattusa is associated with the building of Yazilikaya extra-urban sanctuary, by Neve. Pointing out the interest of the Hittite kings to bring the gods of the Hittite land to Hattusa, and the fact that once every year in the ANTASUM festival the gods, the whole pantheon of the land of Hatti assambled in the Yazilikaya sanctuary, Neve suggests the several temples in the Upper city must have been built to house those cults in Hattusa. This activity starts with Tudhaliya IV (1235-1216 BC), interrupted by a destruction, but continued by a massive restoration and enlargement by Suppiluliuma II (1210-1190). The whole planned nature of the area, Suppiluliuma’s rock carved inscription at Nisantepe, the symmetrical arrangement of the King’s, Sphinx and Lion’s gates, the processional way outside this southern sector of the fortifications is fascinating. The material assamblage from the temples show close affinity with North Syria (everyday objects, cult objects, administrative documents-seals, bullae, cuneiform tablets).

Three main phases O.St. 4: first city wall erected, Temple 4 in the central quarter. Catastrophic destruction at the time of Tudhaliya IV, perhaps assoc with Kurunta of Tarhuntassa. St.O.3: Rebuilding an extension of the Upper temple city. St.O.2: Restoration activities , new mostly secular buildings partly destroying earlier buildings. In this last phase majority of temples were abandoned. Neve poits out the idea that insecurity at the end of 13th c. might have moved the population inside this most protected area.

The complex that extends from the King’s gate with the large sanctuary of the Temple 5, extending to tempels 2 and 3, must have its original planning at the time of Tudhaliya. The three small shrine structures in the courtyard of Temple 5 identified as the shrines to the ancestors of Tudhaliya. The orthostat work at all three temples are excellent. In temples 2 and 3 vast evidence for sculpture is found esp lions and sphinxes which probably decorated the entrance to the temple complex (building not the precinct), the sacred courtyard and the entry to the cultroom. Several fragments were found: of granite-like greenish gabbro. An almost complete head of a lion comes from Temple 2. Acc to the number of frags, Temple 2 possessed at least ten lions, Temple 3: two. Temple 3 yielded frags of sphinxes too. They were all architectural fragments. (Neve 1989, 9)

The Temple 5 also has a residential section, with architectural design resembling the palace structrures at Buyukkale. Tudhaliya Iv must have had his residence here on the processional way that connectyed the temples. Remind the relief of Tudhaliya IV in the Temple level Ib oat Alalakh/tell Atchana. it would be interesting to investigate between the late LBA architectural traditions that circulated between Hattusha, Syria-Levant and Cyprus (Tudhaliya goes there too), especially in terms of stone architecture and stone sculpture. A similar precinct lies near the Lion Gate, namely with Temple 30, unfinished and abandoned in the second phase.

Nisantepe offers a very interesting complex of buildings connected to the palace area of Buyukkale with 2 viaducts, very monumental undertakings, both 85 m long, rising to a height of nmax 10 m. spanning the deep valley between Buyukkale and Nisantepe. The one to the west is considered to be older than the one on the east but both are considered to have been built at the time of Tudhaliya IV or later.

At Nisantepe, a building on top of the bedrock upon which Suppiluliuma’s inscription was carved. This is a worn but very mportant inscription of Suppiluliuma II who speaks about his military campaigns to the South especially his capture of the island of Cyprus. The idea of a commemorative historical inscription on display on an important urban spot.

Not much remains from the building, fuction uncertain, plan unfamiliar, but stone sculpture frags found. The North building complex does not lend itself easily either. The “Westbau” was a giant cellar/ perhaps royal storehouse where 3000 bullae w/ seal impressions and 11 cuneiform tablets were found. The seal impressions range from seals of Suppiluliuma I onwards all the way to Suppiluliuma II. Also seals of court administrators, palace scribes some which were connected to the royal family by blood ties. Cuneiforem inscr. are land donations, sealed by 15th c. Old Hittite Great Kings. “Perhaps the entire complex.. served as an external precinct of Buyukkale”. Hawkins (1998: 77) suggests that the dociuments sealed by all these 3000 bullae were wooden writing boards, which have rotted away and that they would have contained land donations of the Empire period. So he considers the Westbau as an archive building.

In the Sudburg across East from this complex is a temple and the artificial basin structure associated with it. Bottom of lake (5600 m2) natural levelled bedrock surrounded by gently sloping glacis like embankment, a dam to the west, and some vaulted cult chambers constructed on the lower level underneath looking to the Temple 31. All complex dated to Suppiluliuma II. Phrygians settled and built a fort on this Sudburg. Vaulted cult chamber inscription in Luwian hieroglyphs, deal with “a divine stone/earth path into the ground” associated with the Underworld God. A shallow relief of a figure with a long robe with sun-wing disk and ankh, representing the sun-god of sky. The sculptured block with a divine warrior figure (horned helmet) with bow and spear, labelled in hieroglyphs “Suppiluliuma Great King”; bottom two courses were covered with a hieroglyphic inscription, complete.Hawkins’s reading of the inscription revealed that these chambers were “divine road of the earth”/entrances to the Underworld.


Yazilikaya is the extramural open air sanctuary, connected to Hattusha with a processional route, that leves the city from the North by the GReat Temple of Arinna and the Weather God of Hatti.

The construction of Yazilikaya is more or less contemporary with the construction of the several temple structures in the Upper city Hattusha. It is a rock cut sanctuary with natural chambers, on the walls of which some finest Hittite reliefs were carved. There was an elaborate entrance building that enveloped the façade of the cult place. Entered through the west through a monumental staircase, arriving at a large hall where there was an altar, then making a dog-leg turn to approach the main sanctuary.

Chamber A has the pantheon of the Empire, processing in Hierarchical order on opposing walls: male divinities on the left and female on the right, converging on a central tableau where the Hurrian waether god Teshup meets the Hurrian goddess Hepat.Behind the goddess is Sharruma, the son-God.

The divinities stand either on canonical mountains or on animals, such as the panther, lion or the double-headed eagle. They wera distinctive robes, conical hats and shoes with upturned tips. The deities hold their names in Hurrian but written in Luwian hieroglyphs. Behind the Goddesses Tudhaliyas IV strides over the mountains and is identified by hieroglphs. Chamber B had originally a laerger than life size statue of Tudhaliyas, reliefs include the sword god and sun god Sharruma escorting Tudhaliyas into the next world. Niches contained cremated royal remains.

A tablet, which is suggested to be a draft/version of a monumental hieroglyphic Luwian inscription, was published: indicating that a commemorative statue for Tudhaliya IV was set up in an eternal hekur. Eaxct meaning of hekur is uncertain but used to mean “mountain peak”, some suggested that it was borrowed from SumerianÉ.KUR / Akkadian ekurru (“temple”). Scholars identified this particular hekur as Yazilikaya Chamber B (Otten), or Sarikale, Yenice Kale, Nisantepe.

For Yazilikaya Chambers A and B, Hawkins suggests that:

Chamber A must be the huwasi of the Storm God (the scenery of the ANDASHU festival of the spring, goal of the large procession, where the “Great Assembly” of the gods is kept in a tent. The huwasi of the Storm God is stated to be in a tarnu-house or sacred precinct.

Chamber B should be the hekur built by Suppiluliuma II to house the statue of his father Tudhaliya IV, whose colossal feet were found in Yekbaz, village nearby, that fits to the niche in Chamber B. Then Hawkins asks how do we relate the “Stone-house” to these structures/institutions? Were the cremated king Tudhaliya IV’s ashes located in Chamber B?

Nisantepe is identified by Güterbock as the site of hekur, based on the similarity of the first lines of the tablet mentioned above and the Suppiluliuma’s unreadable inscription (now better understood by Hawkins’s trials in 1992-3). Neve’s excavations on Nisantepe revealed 2 sphinx sculptural frags, supporting the location of hekur here. Hawkins on the other hand unable to match the tablet text with the hieroglyphic inscription at Nisantas, suggest that it is quite possible that two different hekurs could have existed as a commemorative or mortuary chapel, distict from a mausoleum.

Other settlements:

Apart from the capital city, the Hittite settlement system had 4 different categories of settelemnts scattered in the Anatolian plateau: (a) Regional centers with palaltial structures and temples, under the auhority of administrators or governors, who were the appointees of the Great King, even sometimes the sons of the Great King as well.A great number of smaller settlements would be under the control of this regional redistribution center

(b)Cut centers, or holy cities, which included necessary architectural setup for the regional festivals, and a royal residence for the King who would be visiting.

(c) frontier settlements as military garrisons, small forts.

(d) rural estates, granted usually by the king to the members of the Hittite nobility, particularly in return for their successful services in the field of battle especially.


AlacaHoyuk became a major Hittite city in the Late Bronze Age, located 30 km NE of Hattusha. It was circled by a wall with towers And A monumental gateway. A large palace was constructed just inside the gateway with open courtyard and suites of rooms. Areas of housing and streets lined with shops were also excavated but unfortunately not very well published.

The main gate at Alaca, and the towers that flank this main gate is however our main concern here. It feature two large stone sphinxes and along the walls stone socles that were carved with narrative scenes. The friezes were carved on architectural blocks. They appear on several superposed bands, interviewing with the sculptured gate guardians.

Alacahöyük is however perhaps the most crucial site in Asia Minor at this time period for our purposes, since the carved ashlar wall-socles of the outer façade of the Sphinx gate at Alaca establishes the link between ashlar wall-socles and carved gate-house orthostats. The reliefs that depict mainly sacrificial processions and worshippers, were carved on “structural elements of the gate, not revetment slabs”.

Human processions rather than a procession of deities; on the west tower a scarificial procession heade by a king and a queen who approach the bull-god; and to the left an unfinished frieze of entertainers, acrobats and musicians who perform at the festival. The scenes forma proper frieze divided into two parts, with continuity expressed from block to block in movement and purpose. Also two large blocks with two registers of hunting scenes also associated with the festival depicted here, a deer hunt in continuous narrative.

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