©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Asvan Kale

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Aşvan Kale
870 m
Eastern Anatolia
Investigation Method:


Location: It was located immediate west of the Asvan (Muratçik) Village; northeast of the Hidirbey Sub-District; 35 km northwest of the Elazig Province; on the southern banks of the Murat River which was formerly a branch of the Euphrates until the construction of the Keban Dam. It; now; lays beneath the reservoir waters of the Keban Lake. It is coded under N 52/ 4.
Geography and Environment: It is an oval shaped; high and big hill on the first terrace of the Euphrates. The top hill is flat; and the slopes are steep. It measures 15 m in height and 130x110 m in dimensions. The spring originating from the conglomerate bedrock was probably the main criteria for the occupation.
Research and Excavation: It was documented in 1945 by K. Kökten [Kökten 1947:463]; and surveyed by R. Whallon and S. Kantman in 1967 [Whallon 1979:168-171; fig.66]. The excavation was carried out under D.H. French by the collaboration of S. Mitchell for the Keban project between 1968-72 [French 1971:31-33]. The EBA levels were reached through the stepped trench on the north.
Stratigraphy: Levels belonging to the EBA II-III; Iron Age; Roman and Middle Age settlements were discovered. The thickness of the EBA levels is surprisingly high; and 3/4 of the mound thickness is related with the EBA settlement [Sagona 1994:9].
Small Finds: Architecture: Fragments of mudbrick walls and pits were found. Pottery: The Karaz ware; the buff coloured burnished ware; and the painting decorated ware of the Malatya-Elazig region were revealed in the upper building levels [French-Helms 1973:fig.2-5]. In the lower building levels; sherds of the red paint decorated ware as well as whole variations of the Karaz/red-black burnished ware were found. The lower levels of the mound yielded sherds of the reserved slip decorated ware and the simple plain ware [French 1971:33]. The Karaz ware available throughout the all levels is handmade and tempered with straw and grit. The interior and exterior surfaces are in different colours. Usually the exteriors are black; or rarely brown and red; the interiors reddish brown or beige. In addition to that; another local ware in cream colour is reported [Sagona 1994:10]. The painted ware of the Malatya-Elazig region is in matt reddish brown. Common decorations are triangles filled with lines; wave patterns; wavy lines etc. [Sagona1994:fig.116-128]. Nature depictions are very rare. Clay: A small amount of animal figurines and terra cotta "çeç" seals were revealed [Sagona 1994:fig.135/1-2; 3-5]. Metal: A spiral headed copper pin and an earring were recovered.
Interpretation and Dating: Asvan Kale is one of the five mounds excavated in this region. The Taskin Ovasi plain where the streams of Kuruçay and Murat Çayi meet was; therefore; dense in population by the EBA II and III people involved in the agriculture.

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