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Anitkabir Tümülüsü 1

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Anıtkabir Tümülüsü 1
Central Anatolia
Investigation Method:


Location: It rested on the western extension of the present Anitkabir (Memorial Tomb), once called Bestepeler by local people to the west of Ankara.
Geography and Environment:
Research and Excavation: It was discovered by R.C. Thompson in 1910. Marked as no. 3 on the layout he published, it is in fact the tumulus no. 1. It became necessary to remove the tumulus during the grading activities for the construction area of the mauseloum. An excavation was initiated by a team under the direction of N. Firatli in 1945.
Small Finds: Architecture: The tumulus was 8.5 m in height and 50 m in diameter. A wooden chamber tomb was laid out in a pit of 6x5x2 m, which was then filled up with stones. Almost rectangular, the pit was opened with long edges being in the east-west and short edges in the north-south directions. A basin of 3.5 x 2.5 m, base and sides made of large juniper logs (an open top coffin) was placed into the pit leaving a space of 60-100 cm from the edges. The wooden base is underlied by a layer of green sand, which is, in turn, underlied by a cobbled layer. It indicates that the bottom of the pit was artificially prepared and the basin was placed onto a plain ground. The floor of the chamber tomb was also paved with thin planks. On the northeastern corner of the chamber (basin) a well-chipped bank of 80 cm in diameter was found. Although the upper surface of the bank is smooth and narrow, the surface facing interior of the chamber gets wider from top to bottom, forming a slight depression at the center of the upper part with an inclined surface. The floor planks, particularly the ones under the bank and vessels, are very well preserved. While the bank and the lateral logs were found intact and in situ, decayed floor planks were hardly noticed. The side logs are approximately 20 cm thick and 1 m high, and massive. The framework of the chamber was arranged elaborately in notchs. Furthermore, the shapeless iron fragments observed as scattered around the grave were used to attach the planks of the basin to each other. The dead was buried after being cremated and the ashes being placed into urns. A tumulus deposit was formed following the placement of grave gifts. There is a ground surface over 5 m in diameter atop the tumulus. It appears that once conic, the mound was eroded in time, spreading highly onto the west-north directions. Sectional layers of the tumulus in various colors indicate that the superimposed soil was obtained from the neighbourhood. Sherd-like artifacts and metal fragments, a fibula and a well-dressed foot of a wooden furniture were found inside the superimposed soil. The bronze fibula is identical to the well-known and semicircular Phrygian safety pins. On top of the tumulus is a pile of pebbles consisting of clean cobbles with a diameter of 6-8 m on the virgin soil. It was found out that these large and small pebbles with size of a fist in average entirely filled up the pit, which houses the ashes and the gifts. The stone pile should have been formed in order to improve the security of the grave. It is already known that it is more difficult to open and rob the tumuli erected around Kayseri and the Commagene Region, all made of stone, compared to the ones erected by soil. The layer of stone settings observed in the Phrygian tumuli is a small size specimen of such structures. Both interior of the basin and four sides of the pit were filled up with large and small, mostly fist-size, clean cobbles following the placement of urns and burial gifts. Based on the soundness of the goods left among the pebbles and the increased amount of soil towards the lower layers, it is suggested that the grave basin was at first covered with little amount of soil, and then the soil penetrated among the pebbles in time to form such a pile. Pottery: Terracotta vessels were recovered to the west of the bank in the grave chamber and along the northern edge of the basin. Decayed and scattered around, there are a total of 8 vessels. At least three of them had ashes. The amount of the ashes inside the one with the largest amount of ashes represents more ashes than the total amount of the ashes collected among the sherds scattered around. The form of the vessels with and without ashes are almost similar. They have a flat and small bottom with an almost spherical belly, and a rim wide enough to put a hand in. They are of pale red and dark grey slipped ware. Among these vessels scattered around the grave are tiny fragments of human bones, which seemed to have undergone a fire. T. Özgüç suggests that the vessels around the main one included the ashes of the sacrifices cremated together with the dead or with a mean height of 24 cm, and width of 23 cm and rim of 14 cm, these urns were not capable of taking the ashes of one person so that they might have been shared into a few vessels. On the southern side of the chamber, two glided bowls with an omphalos and a bulged wall were found together. Also found along the northern edge of the basin are relief, pellet or slot decorated neck fragments of several vessels, fragments and artifacts of spouted jags and handles, and specimens of ring bases. Metal: An iron tripod was found in front of the bank in the grave chamber. Traces of adhered and decayed woods indicate that the foot were stepping directly on the floor. Next to the tripod were fragments of bronze vessels with unknown forms. They should have belonged to a vessel placed onto the tripod. A bronze and finely decorated belt and its buckle or a shoulder band was found at the junction of the eastern and southern walls of the grave chamber. It was found out that this bronze and very flexible belt buckle in strip form was sewed onto a fabric using the small holes on its border. The fabric artifacts are left at where it was sewn. Fragments of some other bronze, decayed vessels were found towards the northwestern end of the chamber. However, the main materials in metal were found at the southwestern corner and along the southern edge of the grave. At the far corner bronze lobed spearheads were found next to each other in mass, probably a total of seven. The wooden traces indicate that they were originally attached to wooden shafts.
Interpretation and Dating: In the absence of painted pottery, the tumulus no.1 in the Anitkabir area with its monochrome pottery and all kinds of bronze material, which was not poorer than the grave no.3 in Gordion is dated to the early 7th century BC, prior to the Cimmerian raids.

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