©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project


Degirmentepe

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Deūirmentepe
Type:
Mound
Altitude:
650 m
Region:
Eastern Anatolia
Province:
Malatya
District:
Battalgazi
Village:
Imamli
Investigation Method:
Excavation
Period:
Middle

     


Location: The site lies approximately 24 km northeast of Malatya; northeast of Battalgazi (Old Malatya) District; north side of the gravel road between Imamli Village and Adagoren Village. It has been inundated by the Karakaya Dam on Euphrates. The location code of the site is P 50 / 7.
Geography and Environment: The first settlement of the mound; located on the bank of Euphrates (40 m from the river in the present time); was founded on a natural conglomeratic elevation near the river. It is interpreted that the elevation was near the river during the first inhabitation; and the inhabitants used the Euphrates as a water source. Before the inundation; the mound was 12 m high above the level of the river bank; and 4.5 m high above the level of the southern road. It was 125 m wide in the north-south direction; 200 m long in the east-west direction; and looked like a "8" shaped; medium mound. The northern section ends with a steep slope at the fields near Euphrates; while the southern section is slightly sloped towards the road. Before the excavation; no damage was observed besides ploughing; and the overflowing of Euphrates. The mound used to be located on a narrow plain surrounded by fertile fields near Euphrates [Esin 1994:85-86].
History:
Research and Excavation: The site was discovered in 1977; during the Lower Euphrates Basin Survey and was excavated by U. Esin from the University of Istanbul in 1978-1986.
Stratigraphy: According to the scientific excavations that lasted 8 seasons; settlements dating back to the Chalcolithic Age-Medieval Age (Medieval-Late Roman Period; IA; MBA and LBA{without a level}; EBA; Chalcolithic Age; virgin soil) are existent at the site.
Small Finds: Architecture: Regular mud-brick structures without stone foundation belonging to the Chalcolithic Age (Levels 6-11) were revealed. Level 7 provides the best information about the characteristics of the village settlements. Structural units in various dimensions; and consisting of many rooms; are observed to be built; adjacent to each other; on a clear and well-thought plan. Almost all structural units consist of a large rectangular space at the center and small spaces arranged sometimes at three sides; usually in two wings. The builders were probably very careful about the symmetry of the structures. Additional spaces are also observed to be built when necessary. Some structural units are thought to be built larger due to the population or the different status of the family. Red decorated walls of the large space at the center of some structural units support this interpretation. A hearth and a furnace are existent near the short wall of the larger space. Almost all spaces are plastered and some are whitewashed with lime. This whitewash is observed to be repeated a few times in important spaces. Schematic wall paintings with red ochre were made on the walls of larger spaces over white whitewash [Esin 1994:pic.33]. Pictures were repeated a few times. A sun pattern; rays coming out of a circle; plant depictions; and spots were drawn. In addition; these decorations are observed to be framed by black lines. The wooden opening traces on the walls suggest that the two "L"shaped side-rooms at the wings contain wooden stairs going up to the second floor. It is not easy to understand whether the wings or the larger space at the center or both of them are two-storied or not. Most probably; the wings are two-storied; the larger space at the center has a high ceiling; and is only one-storied. The large space may be used for daily activities; the lower part of the wings as storage; and the upper part of the wings as bedrooms. Although passages were observed between the larger space at the center and the storage rooms; the problem about the entrance of the structural units could not be resolved. Most probably; an opening on the roof and a wooden stair were used. Courtyards; covering small areas; are observed here and there. The entrance to the village and the direction of the entrance could not be revealed either. It is thought that the entrance was located towards Euphrates. The exterior walls are built thicker than other walls suggesting a defense wall. Pottery: Sherds of greenish beige; grayish pink thin pasted ware; belonging to the Ubaid Period; were recovered from the Chalcolithic levels. Some of them are thin red slipped; but they are usually of slipped in the same color as the paste. This ware group mostly consists of "Coba bowls" (they were first found in Coba HŲyŁk). The irregular lines; drawn on their surface from bottom to the center of the body; are thought to be made with flintstone; therefore these are also named as "brushed or flint-scraped bowls". Painted Ubaid vessels decorated with purplish black over light colored surface; red and brown painted schematic leaf; branch mesh; and geometrical patterns were collected among the light colored pasted wares. In addition; coarse cooking pots were recovered. Intense chaff and grit tempering is observed on these vessels. They are black and brown-faced. The cooking ware is observed to be hand-made; while some of the light colored pasted vessels are made on a slow-wheel. Clay: Among the unbaked clay objects; seal stamped clay lumps; interpretated as bullae; make up the biggest and the most important group of Degirmentepe. Bullae are clay lumps; tied on the rims of the vessels. The clay is pressed on the rope before it is still soft. Lumps are also stamped by the salesman's seal. They were used to prevent the commercial material inside the jars and baskets to diminish or to get stolen. The purchaser threw the hardened bullae into the garbages and inside spaces; while he untied the rope. Many bullae were recovered during the excavation while emptying the space and garbage pit deposits. The existence of the bullae proves that the inhabitants traded intensely. Small baked clay figurines; and game pieces were also recovered. Chipped Stone: The recovery of ten thousands of flintstone wastes and pieces; especially in the workshops and courtyards; suggest that the inhabitants probably produced and even sold these star-shaped objects by bartering. The sharp points of the small star-shaped tools are observed to be used in seal production and the concave ends were used in working reeds. In addition; tools such as scrapers and blades for daily life are also existent. Ground Stone: Many steatite seals that identify the Ubaid culture; were recovered. They are decorated with schematic human; animal; and plant depictions. Geometrical decorations are rare. Flintstone burins and scrapers are interpretated to be used in the making of these decorations. Small and big flat axes; grinding stones; and grinding mills were also recovered. Bone / Antler: Awls are abundant. Metal: Although there were no metal finds from the Chalcolithic Age levels; copper slags (not in situ) were recovered near the furnaces and room deposits. According to the slag analysis; they are the second melting wastes. Therefore; Esin claims that the furnaces at the lower stories were used in melting metal [Esin 1997:436]. Human Remains: The infants and baby were put into big jars; and buried beneath the house floors; or they were buried by being put into unbaked clay vessels; named honeycombs; which were used as grain storage. Flexed burials are abundant. It is interpretated that the adults were buried extramurally. Excavations did not last very long because of the dam lake. Therefore; there was not so much time to look for a cemetery. According to the analysis of the skeletons recovered; all of them were 0-14 age years old; except for an adult. Most of them were dead shortly after birth. It is interesting that abortions were also existent [÷zbek 1986:90 - 92]. A conscious deformation was observed on the heads of the babies and the children by M. ÷zbek [Esin 1986:136]. The heads of the female babies were tied tightly just after birth to make the head thin and long. It is interpretated that this operation was especially applied on the females for a religious or aesthetic purpose [÷zbek 1986:94 - 85]. Fauna: Ubaid Period settlers of Degirmentepe domesticated sheep; goat; cattle; pig; donkey; and dog [Esin 1986:138]. Wild animals such as giant cattle; wild sheep; goat; red deer; hallow deer; rabbit; wild pig; and fish were not very highly consumed. Flora: Barley and wheat agriculture is observed to be very important. Pea and oat are also cultivated plants.
Remains:
Interpretation and Dating: The salvage excavations at Degirmentepe ended because of the construction of the Karakaya Dam; leaving some unanswered questions behind. The northern part of the excavated area was extremely damaged by the Iron Age level. Therefore; the extension of the village to the north could not be understood. All finds support the idea that the inhabitants were trading intensely. A small commercial settlement; the predecessor of city civilization; was encountered. Seal and seal stamping are the important elements of Ubaid culture covering a large area; from Umman Gulf at the south; Iran at the east; Syria at the west; to Anatolia at the north. The inhabitants of Degirmentepe probably settled near the Euphrates' bank on a natural cement hill; mixed with pebble; in order to control the wood and copper trade on the river. Flood traces that damaged Level 7 village suggest that the inhabitants probably got effected by the overflowing of Euphrates for a few times. The remains of this level were used as foundation; the walls were repaired; and the structures were used again. 6 levels reveal the same plan with the lower level. The Chalcolithic Age finds of Degirmentepe were also studied by archaeometric researches. The analyses of pottery; clay; slag; and soil were made. An example taken from the furnace floor at Level 7 is dated to 4492 BC by "Thermoluminesance" [Esin 1986:148]. According to the absolute and relative chronologies; the mound dates back to the last half of the 5th Millennium BC-the beginning of the 4th Millennium BC. To conclude; the Chalcolithic people of Degirmentepe was probably a religious community that lived in a hot; more humid; and more wooded environment; compared to the present time.


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