30 May 13:47

Alaca Höyük

TR > Çorum Province > Alaca

Alacahöyük or Alaca Höyük (sometimes also spelled as Alacahüyük, Aladja-Hoyuk, Euyuk, or Evuk) is the site of a Neolithic and Hittite settlement and is an important archaeological site. It is situated in Alaca, Çorum Province, Turkey, northeast of Boğazkale (formerly and more familiarly Boğazköy), where the ancient capital city Hattusa of the Hittite Empire was situated. Its Hittite name is unknown: connections with Arinna, Tawiniya, and Zippalanda have all been suggested.
The mound (Turkish höyük) at Alacahöyük was a scene of settlement in a continuous sequence of development from the Chalcolithic Age, when earliest copper tools appeared alongside the use of stone tools.
During the Early Bronze Age, the mound was the center of a flourishing Hattian

culture. It has been continuously occupied ever since, until today's

modern settlement in the form of a small village. The standing and

distinguishing remains at Alacahöyük, however, such as the "Sphinx

Gate", date from the Hittite period that followed the Hatti, from the fourteenth century BC.

According to Trevor Bryce:

″There is a theory that the occupants of the tombs were not from the native Hattian population of central Anatolia, but were Kurgan immigrants from the region of Maikop in southern Russia, who spoke an Indo-European language and perhaps became rulers of the local Hattian population.″

However, Hittitologist J.G. Macqueen suggested that these tombs, while constructed by an Indo-European people, were not constructed by Anatolian-speakers, such as Hittites:

"[...] there is no sign of any spread of this kurgan culture

further south in Anatolia, so it cannot be linked to the spread of

Hittite, to say nothing of Palaic or Luwian. The language of the rulers

who were buried in the Alaca tombs, although probably Indo-European, was

almost certainly not Proto-Hittite."

Many of the artefacts

discovered at Alacahöyük, including magnificent Hattian gold and bronze

objects found in the Royal Tombs, are housed today in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Among these artefacts are gold and electrum standing cups and other vessels. The most unusual are the Alaca Höyük bronze standards; bulls or stags

on pedestals whose purpose remains the subject of debate. The standards

are cast in copper, many in the form of flat circles, half-circles or

squares that are filled with an openwork network of cross bars, central crosses, and swastikas. Leonard Woolley found that the Royal Tombs "seem to belong to the end of a period, as

marked by a stratum of destruction and the burning of the citadel. The

culture which the tomb objects illustrate does not continue into the

next historical phase, that of Kültepe". Modern assessment

finds that the site continued as a flourishing community to the end of

the Late Bronze Age. There was also a sizable occupation in Phrygian times.


A dam, dating from 1240 BC, was announced to be reopened for use on September 23, 2006. The dam was ordered by King Tudhaliya IV in the name of the goddess Hebat.

According to ancient Hittite tablets, a drought struck Anatolia in 1200

BC, prompting the King to import wheat from Egypt so that his land

would avoid famine. Following this, the king ordered numerous dams to be

built in central Anatolia, all but one of them becoming non-functional

over time. The one in Alacahöyük has survived because the water source

is located inside the dam's reservoir.