AIMS

The project will apply for an excavation permit for 2019.
In the longer term, an excavation project over several years on Gerçin Höyük is planned. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has in 2016 already awarded funds to initiate this project.

After completing the survey, future excavations and interdisciplinary researches will try to answer the following questions:

• What was the function of the site? Was it exclusively used as a cult center and necropolis, as attested by the inscriptions?

• What is the date of the first use? In what sociopolitical context was a settlement and/or sanctuary founded on this hill? Is it to be ascribed to the Hittite occupation of this area or to an even older period?

• What building phases can be attested for the temple that can be hypothesized at this site? What information does this building add to the – overall very scant – knowledge of iron age sacred architecture in the North Syrian–Southeast Anatolian area? Where does it fit typologically in comparison to its region or across different regions?

• How was the royal necropolis built? Were burials really present? And, if so, following which tradition? Were they directly connected with buildings?

• What burial rituals can be attested archaeologically? To which burial tradition can these be assigned?

• What information is provided by the anthropological evidence? Do isotope analyses of bone and dental remains, when compared also to the animal bone finds, provide the chance to investigate the migration of humans and animals, which for this period and area is still very inadequately studied? The problematic evidence for the little known and for the most part badly documented cremations of the iron age in the Syro-Anatolian area is well known. Precisely here the textually attested necropolis on Gerçin Höyük, with a little luck in the finds, could offer a rare opportunity to close an important gap in the research.

• What do the domesticated fauna and flora look like in a site that was probably used essentially for religious-ritual activities? What conclusions do they permit about possible communal dining behavior, sacrifices, storage activities, etc.?

• In the conception of the complex on Gerçin Höyük do we have a model that can be applied also to other sites in the world of the late Hittite-Aramaic states, and which may be echoed in later sacred complexes such as the burial sanctuary on Nemrud Dağ or the sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus on Dülük Baba Tepesi?

• What did the later use of the site look like? Can activities by the Assyrians be demonstrated, as is the case at Sam’al? What was involved in the Hellenistic presence at this site, which is attested by pottery finds? What importance may the place have had in the cultural transition from the iron age to early antiquity in the Syrian-Anatolian area?

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