Survey of the Palaeolithic sites of the Sakçagözü Region

Location: Gaziantep Province

Years: 1994-1996

Director: Andrew Garrard

Participants: James Conolly, Norah Moloney (1995), Katherine Wright (1995-1996), Tom Pollard (1995), Atakan Güven (1995), Debbie Sabo (1995), John McNabb (1996), Norah Moloney (1996), Martin Bates (1996), Atakan Güven (1996), Sunil Nandha (1996)

Government Representatives: Mustafa Samur (1995), Yasar Ünlü and Zeki Akcan (1996)

Funding: BIAA, British Academy, University College London, Institute of Archaeology (Gordon Childe Fund), Prehistoric Society, Society of Antiquaries, University of London Central Research Fund,

Summary:

The Sakçagözü region is in the north part of the Levantine rift valley between Antakya and Karamanmaraş, an area of abundant natural resources like flint and limestone, and the site of former lakes.  Primarily for these reasons, it was identified as a likely area for a project on Palaeolithic and Aceramic Neolithic settlement in the summer of 1994.

Survey work began the following season and lasted from 26 June to 23 July 1995.  Though the focus was the middle and early Upper Palaeolithic, Epipalaeolithic, and earliest Neolithic, later material was systematically collected when it was found.  Caves and rock-shelters were selected as sites, as well as some open localities and land surfaces on the valley floor.  A variety of assemblages was found, and duly recorded in detail.  It was hoped that the material gathered would contribute to the discussion on pastoralism and resources in the highlands throughout time.

In the summer of 1996 another one-month survey occurred, incorporating both archaeological and geological approaches.  Work was particularly concentrated around and in the Emirler valley, Evri and Çocelli, the İcerisu valley, and localities around Gavurgölu (a former lake).  In the limestone hills, many artefacts dating to middle Palaeolithic occupation were found.  Seven morphology terraces were found in the upper İcerisu.  Not many artefacts were found around the lower İcerisu or around Gavurgölu, though elephant bones are known to have been recovered from the large sediments.  Some sediment columns from around the south and east shores of Gavurgölu were augured by hand to obtain basic data on the lake basin’s subsurface structure.  All in all, both seasons were successful in collecting helpful information on Sakçagözü’s early prehistoric periods through later antiquity.

Sources:

Garrard, A. et al. 1996: ‘The early prehistory of the Sakçagözü region’ Anatolian Studies 46: 53-81

Anatolian Archaeology 1: 14-15; 2: 18-19

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