©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project


Beycesultan

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Beycesultan
Type:
Mound
Altitude:
750 m
Region:
Aegean
Province:
Denizli
District:
«ivril
Village:
Kocayaka
Investigation Method:
Excavation
Period:

     


Location: It lies next to the village of Mentese; 5 km southwest of the «ivril District; northeast of the Denizli Province. It is one of the biggest mounds in the vicinity of Denizli. It reads Behicesultan on the 1:200.000 map due to the tomb of an Ottoman saint located on the top hill.
Geography and Environment: An old channel of the Menderes River (Meandros) can be seen on the east of the settlement founded in the valley of «ivril. Possibly the river used to flow through this channel during that era. The mound has two hills; east and west. The path to the village of Yakacik passes through these two mounds [Lloyd-Mellaart 1962:plan in fig.1]. The western hill is 25 m while the eastern is 24 m high. The area between the two hills is 18 m high from the plain. The cone is 700x500 m. Depending on the distribution of sherds; the settlement's diameter is reported to measure 1 km.
History:
Research and Excavation: The mound was discovered by J. Mellaart; and excavated by S. Lloyd and J. Mellaart in 1954-59; revealing important information; especially about the Bronze Ages; for the Aegean Archaeology. The trench; "sx"; exposed the stratigraphy of Beycesultan. Chalcolithic Age levels were found at an area of 3x3.5 m. Virgin soil was reached at 2 m below surface. This shows that the plain was not filled with too much alluvium and the first settlers inhabited a natural elevation. It takes place in the registered archaeological sites list prepared by Ministry of Culture and Tourism. After 48 years, the excavations were restarted under the directorship of Esref Abay on the date of 6th August 2007.
Stratigraphy: 40 levels were observed at the end of the excavations: Levels XL-XX: Late Chalcolithic Age; Levels XIX-VI: EBA; LevelsV-IV: MBA; Levels III-I: LBA The stratigraphy of Beycesultan of Second Period excavations as follows: 1a, 1b, 1c : Seljuk- The period of Beylik's 2a2, 2a1, 2b : Byzantine Period 3 : Iron Age 4a, 4b : Late Bronze Age 5a1-a3, 5b : ?
Small Finds: Architecture: No comprehensible architectural remains were recovered because the Chalcolithic Age levels were revealed at a very small area. Architectural finds from the Level XL to the Level XXXV were not remarkable. There are floors; fragments of mudbrick walls; and hearth remains. However; an exact plan can not be acquired. There is a platform; along the wall; inside a rectungular room with plastered mudbrick walls at the Level XXXIV. There are external bastions of a house wall at Level XXVI. The same technique is observed at the levels down to the Level XXIV. A house; marked as the predecessor of "megarons"; was revealed from the Level XXIV. It is entered through a forecourt. A platform is observed along the wall of the entrance room. The extentions in front of the two walls of the second room are interpretated to be used for sleeping by placing a thin mattress on them. There are no important remains at the Levels XXIII and XXII except for the debris at XXII; that is assumed to belong to a fortification wall. Pottery: The recovered sherds from the Levels XL-XX are observed to be made coarser compared to the pottery of Neolithic sites around the region. Although a clear development is not observed in ware groups according to the levels; Mellaart classifies the pottery in 4 groups according to the levels. This classification helps to date entire surface finds in Western Anatolia: XL-XXXV: There are sherds of burnished black ware and coarse ware; dating to the Late Chalcolithic Age Phase I. This ware is chaff and grit tempered; black; brown; and dark gray colored and burnished. Heavy grit-temper is observed in coarse ware. They are rarely burnished. White-matt paint is used for decoration. Decoration is mostly made on the interior surface of the bowls; and on the exterior surface of the jars. Rhombs; triangles; chevrons; zigzags; and checker-boards are observed. Forms are bowls; jars; and mugs. XXXIV-XXIX: The Late Chalcolithic Age Phase 2 pottery is not very different from the levels below. Sherds of thin-pasted; burnished light colored ware were recovered. White paint decorated over red; buff; and crème surface sherds lessen in number. One or two sherds are burnished-decorated; and a little amount of sherds are excised decorated. Motifs are the same. There are no great difference in forms. Bowls with flaring rims; jars with horizontal strap-handles were found. Influences of Konya Plain are observed. XXVIII-XXV: Sherds are dated to the Late Chalcolithic Age Phase 3. Characteristics of Konya Plain begin to diminish. Flute decorated vessels are in production. Sherds of brown; pink; and black faced; slipped; well burnished ware and coarse ware were recovered from these levels. A little amount of white paint decorated sherds were found. There are divergent; concave carinated bowls and jars. Four jars with ovoid; horizontal pierced lugs were found. XXIV-XX: These levels and the recovered sherds are dated to the Late Chalcolithic Age Phase 4. Dark colors and red brown colors are observed on the sherds of black burnished; thin ware. Slipped sherds are not very much. Flat floors are abundant in forms. It is observed that bucket handles are placed vertically on the bodies of jars. A very little amount of white-matt paint decorated sherds were found. Clay: Two animal figurines; not identified properly; were found. Chipped Stone: There are various interpretations about the lack of pieces of the Chalcolithic Age industry of Beycesultan. The most logical one is that they were not considered as an important group of finds in the years of the excavations. Sickles and side scrapers were recovered as well as blades. Ground Stone: Burnished axes are the most attractive group among the finds. A typical distinction according to phases can not be made. Bone / Antler: Spoon and perforators out of bone were found. Metal: According to the excavators of Beycesultan; metal finds; especially copper; were recovered from 7 levels out of 21. The storage assemblage; consisting of 14 copper and 1 silver objects; at Level XXXIV is an interesting group for this age. It was found in a jar. Daggers; chisels; perforators; pins; and unidentified objects are among the copper finds. Almost all of them are interpretated to be made by hammering. The silver ring is an important and unique find for the Late Chalcolithic Age. Human Remains: Four infant inhumations were found inside earth grave at Level XXIX and jar burials at Levels XXVIII.; XXIII.; XXII. It is not reported whether there were any grave goods or not. The adults were probably buried extramurally. It is not reported; either; why a few children were buried intramurally. Flora: Domesticated plant remains were recovered. There is no detailed information about them.
Remains:
Interpretation and Dating: J. Mellaart claims that every level lasts approximately 100 years; thus the Late Chalcolithic Age of Beycesultan lasts about 2000 years; which is not really possible. Thie estimated duration does not seem correct; because some levels are very thin or only consist of foundations. Mellaart also claims that these levels are; chronologically; right after the Early Chalcolithic Age of Hacilar. On the contrary; the two 14C results suggest a date at the end of the 4th Millennium BC; 3014+ / -58 BC. A reliable absolute dating is naturally not possible with only a few 14C results. Beycesultan is represented by two phases in ASPRO. One of them is the 8th phase; between Levels XL – XXXV; dating to 6500 – 6100 BP. The other one is the 9th phase; between Levels XXXIV – XX; dating approximately to 6100 – 5700 BP [Hours et al. 1994:80]. Although there is insufficient data; Beycesultan is a guiding site for the Late Chalcolithic Age of Western Anatolia.


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