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Origin, Development and Survival of Hittite Culture in the Central Black Sea Region - Archaeological Excavations at Oymaagac Höyük/Turkey


DFG (seit 2009), Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2006-2008), Freie Universität Berlin (2005), Tepe Knauf Ankara sowie private Spender

Jun 01, 2007 — Dec 31, 2022

What Aachen was to the German kings, the city of Nerik represented to the Hittite Great Kings of the second millennium BC. Just as Frederick I Barbarossa was annointed king by the grace of God in the cathedral of Aachen, Hattushili III, brother of Muwatalli (1259 BC), was crowned king by the storm god of Nerik. While research on the political capital at Hattusa has continued over the past century, the history of Nerik, known to have been located in the mountains of Haharwa near the Kizilirmak river in northern Anatolia, is still only poorly known.

Several arguments can now be made for identifying Nerik with the settlement of Oymaagaç Höyük near Vezirköprü. Since Fall of 2005, an interdisciplinary research team under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jörg Klinger and  PD Dr. Rainer Czichon has been conducting excavations at the site. The first two survey seasons already yielded five fragments of Hittite cuneiform texts and two sealed bullae with hieroglyphic Luvian inscriptions. These not only represent the oldest written documents in northern Anatolia, but also the northernmost finds associated with Hittite culture. One of the texts mentions an offering for the storm god of Nerik, another the region of Haharwa otherwise associated with Nerik.

The texts and sealings come from the surroundings of a monumental building with an area of ca. 3000 m2, revealed by a geomagnetic survey in the summer of 2006. The 2007 excavations uncovered a portion of the southern face as well as fragments of red-slipped bull figures, symbols which provided additional support for the identification of the building as a temple of the storm god. Continued work on the site should help to confirm this identification as well as expand our knowledge of Hittite history in the region.