Situated in a fertile plain 13 km north-west of Aksaray at the south edge of
the Tuz Gölü and on the main north-south and east-west routes.
(ancient Purushanda/Burushattum) consists of a large mound (700 x 600 m) and
lower city. The mound itself consists of four high points, with flat areas
between, and has occupation going back into the 3rd millennium, but the
lower city was occupied only in the
period. Both areas were
abandoned at the end of that time. Levels I and II were disturbed and
excavation has concentrated on level III, the burnt level contemporary with
Kültepe Karum II, which has produced two palaces on the high points of Sarıkaya
and Hatipler and the West Building on the third high point, as well as other
buildings in between. The cemetery was some 500 m from the mound.
Excavations at the site began in 1962 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Nimet Özgüç
(AU-DTCF) and have continued since 1989 under Prof. Dr. Aliye Öztan (AU-DTCF).
Around 1950 B.C., traders from the
northern Mesopotamian city of Ashur established karums, or merchants' colonies,
at a number of Central Anatolian cities, among them the site of Acemhöyük.
Assyrian merchants lived in a restricted area of these cities, trading textiles
and tin from the southeast for silver but operating under the rule of local
kings. Acemhöyük is a large mound located south of Ankara near the Turkish
town of Aksaray on the Konya Plain. It lay on a route linking Anatolia with the
East and seems to have been an important center for the copper trade and
industry. In 1965, a Turkish archaeological expedition found sealed bullae,
inscribed clay tablets, ivories, and other objects outside the karum of Acemhöyük
in two burned palaces on the highest part of the mound.
A group of ivories given to the Museum in the 1930s is thought to have come
from Acemhöyük because of close similarities in style and subject to those
known to have been found there. Ranging in color from white to gray blue and a
pinkish orange, they have been carved to represent the fantastic composite
creatures important in the mythology of the ancient Near East. This small female
sphinx is a form borrowed from the Egyptians. Her large almond-shaped eyes and
spiral locks ultimately derive from the Egyptian goddess Hathor. As with the
later ivories from Nimrud, this sphinx, one of four in the Museum, was carved as
Dr. Aliye Öztan
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