Museum Of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

Landscape approaching Ankara

View of the city from the hilltop castle of Ankara, where the Museum of Anatolian Civilization is located in a converrted, covered bazaar.

The castle

The museum contains artifacts from the earliest known human civilizations.Palaeolithic Age (….8000 BC): The Palaeolithic Age is represented in the museum by the finds uncovered in the Antalya Karain Cave. People of the Palaeolithic Age were hunter-gatherers who used stone and bone tools. The stone tools are displayed under three time categories: Lower Paleolithic Age, Middle Paleolithic Age and Upper and Late Upper Paleolithic Age.

7th Milleneum B.C.

Chalcolithic Age (Copper-Stone) (5500-3000 BC): In addition to stone tools, copper was processed and used in everyday life during this age. The artifacts recovered in Hacılar, Canhasan, Tilkitepe, Alacahöyük and Alişar Hüyük are exhibited in the museum. The collection includes a large collection of stone and metal tools, goddess figurines, seals, and decorative jewelry.

Assyrian Trade Colonies (1950-1750 BC): In this period, writing emerged in Anatolia for the first time. Since Akkadian times, Mesopotamians were aware of Anatolian resources and riches. As a result, they engaged in broad trade relations, spearheaded by Assyrians and with them they brought in their languages and cylinder and stamp seals which later was developed into a writing system. Over 20,000 clay tablets, inscribed in Assyrian cuneiform, shed light to this period. Most of the written documents are concerned with trade, economy, and law. Tin, textiles, and clothes were brought by the Assyrian donkey caravans for the local people and these goods were exchanged for silver and gold. Kültepe was the center of the trade network. As a result we witness an explosion in the diversity of the finds. Cuneiform tablets, drinking vessels in the shape of sacred animals like bull, lion, eagle, boar, rabbit, which were used in religious ceremonies, cult objects, cylinder and stamp seals and their impressions, all kinds of weapons and metal cups of artistic value made of clay, stone, gold, silver, lead, copper, bronze, precious stones and tiles from the Assyrian trade colonies were discovered at Kültepe, Acemhöyük, Alişar and Boğazköy. Another interesting class of finds related to this 200 year period is rhytons of Kultepe, a special group of ceramic art which constitutes the basis of the Hittite culture.

According to written records, in the late Colony Age, Anitta, who is the son of Pithana established the first government of Anatolia administered by central system, by taking the first step of uniting the Hittites living in the form of city principalities

The first Indo-European empire: 17th century BC

A group of tribes, speaking Indo-European languages and collectively known as the Hittites, establish themselves as the dominant power in Anatolia. Their capital is at Bogazkoy, a dramatically fortified city on a steep slope among ravines; its walls and towers enclose no fewer than five great temples.

The priest-king who makes this place his capital in the 17th century BC is Hattusilis I. He has ambitions for his people. Moving south and east with his army, he reaches the Mediterranean and continues into northern Syria.

Eager to give his empire full credentials, Hattusilis brings back from Syria a team of scribes, expert in cuneiform. They adapt the cuneiform script to a new purpose, the recording of an Indo-European language, and they lay the foundation for an important state archive at Bogazkoy.

A jar covered in leather

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