Tepe Düzen

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Tepe Düzen is a Classical-Hellenistic settlement at only 1.8km southwest of Sagalassos, that was discovered during the 2005 archaeological survey lead by dr. Hannelore Vanhaverbeke. The wall remains of numerous buildings (houses?) are visible at the surface over an area of more than 120ha, spread over two plateaus. To the north of these plateaus, the 1784m high mount Zencirli rises up. On top of this mountain, the remains of a fortification wall made of large stone boulders indicate that mount Zencirli contained a fortified acropolis for the lower city. The two plateaus themselves were fortified with a similar wall as well.

After two seasons of small scale excavations (2006-2007) and one campaign of large scale excavations (2008) we are slowly discovering various aspects of the life of the people that once inhabited this settlement. The only remaining part of the houses excavated so far is a socle made of fieldstones. The upper part of the walls were probably made of wattle-and-daub, a building material made of interwoven branches (wattle) covered with a clayish mixture (daub), of which some burnt leftovers were found. As no roof tiles were recovered, the roofs were probably made of organic materials (wood, straw, clay). As the winters in this area were and are wet, it is rather improbable that the roofs were flat.

At least some of the houses must have been so-called courtyard houses, with rooms arranged around a courtyard, where people could for example cook or weave in open air. The geophysical investigation by prof. Branko Music shows that at least the eastern plateau is a rather densely built area, with a close pattern of buildings, “streets” or alleys and open spaces. As the excavations have pointed out that there must have been a lot of building and rebuilding activities in a relatively short amount of time, it is improbable that all buildings visible on the geophysical results are contemporary.

Most of the small finds originate from refuse pits (2006-2007 excavations) or a thick refuse layer covering the buildings excavated in 2008. Those finds, together with some archaeological structures, offer us hints on the economy of the Tepe Düzen settlement.

Firstly, the presence of mainly sheep/goat bone refuse, together with the find of many loom weights (ceramic weights attached to the end of the threads on a loom to keep them straight), shows that textile production was an important activity of the people living at Tepe Düzen.

Next to that, the 2008 excavations yielded many bone objects. A lot of so-called astragaloi, smoothened knucklebones used in games or in divination, were found, as well as some other pieces of decorated bone or antler.

Thirdly, the find of two (destroyed) pottery kilns during the 2008 excavations show that pottery was locally produced. The scale of this production seems to be simply self-sufficient, in contrary to the later, large-scale production in the potters’ quarter at Sagalassos.

Lastly, the find of metal ores (iron, tin, lead) and waste of metal production, proves that the people at Tepe Düzen made their own metal objects. At least some of the metal ores (tin) do not originate from this region of Turkey, and may therefore have been imported over a large distance. The metal objects found at Tepe Düzen include weaponry (spear-, arrow- and plumheads), jewelry (rings) and unidentified tools or parts of objects. Future archaeometric investigation will have to point out whether or not all metal objects retrieved have been locally produced.

The pottery finds from the excavations have roughly been dated to the 5th to 2nd century BC (Classical-Hellenistic period). These dates have been confirmed by C14 datings of animal bones and plant seeds from archaeological contexts.

One of the major questions in the investigation of Tepe Düzen is the relationship between this settlement and Sagalassos, where some remains of Hellenistic date have been found as well. The architectural remains at Tepe Düzen are atypical for this period (Hellenistic buildings elsewhere in the Mediterranean are usually made of regularly cut stones and have a roof built of tiles) this fact raises the question which people inhabited this settlement and what was their relationship to the broader region.