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Alacahöyük

Alacahöyük, located at 36 kilometers (23 miles) northeast of Bogazkoy (ancient Hattusas) and 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Corum province of Turkey, is an important site of the Hittite era. Before the Hittites, the Hattion - a Bronze Age culture - dominated in this region. The Hittite gateway is the most fascinating part of the city which is flanked by two sphinxes and furnished with Hittite stone relieves and orthostats.

Excavations in the archaeological site started in the 19th century during the late Ottoman period. A 13th century BC dam with dimensions of 135 by 150 meters (492 x 442 feet) was unearthed during the excavations and is still used today for irrigation by local farmers in the area. The dam walls were made of clay, covered with lime plaster and then a stone revetment. There are 14 layers of settlements on the site which date back to four separate periods in the history of Anatolia; Chalcolitic period (around 4000-3000 BC), Early Bronze Age (around 3000-2000 BC), Hittite period (around 1800-1200 BC), and Phrygian period (around 750 BC).

Some of the most important findings of Alacahoyuk are sun discs and animal statuettes which were found in the royal graves, dating back to the 3rd millenium BC. The artifacts of gold and bronze objects from this period are sheltered now in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara. Also, originals of the stone reliefs and sphinxes are in the same museum, meanwhile replicas of them can be seen on site. The small museum building in Alacahöyük houses on its two floors some of the findings of the Hittite period discovered from the excavations in the area.

Nearby Alacahoyuk you can visit other Hittite sites such as Hattusa and Yazilikaya.

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