Examination of a relief accidentally found in the Nevruz Forest, Elazığ, in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia, is said to set back the region’s history back a full 1,000 years more than originally believed. The find is believed to date back 4000 years.
The relief was found in May last year, by an excavator operator who was plating saplings in the forest. The artefact is 2.72 metre high and 2.25 meter wide. It was found in five pieces. Subsequent examinations and restoration work on the relief revealed that the artefact dated to 4000 years ago. In this way, the history of Harput, which was previously thought to have begun in 1000 BC. has been determined to be at least 1000 years older. The object, dubbed the “Harput Relief” is believed to have been fixed on a wall. Its main theme was the conquest of a castle, with scenes from depicting the spoils of war and naked slaves in front of the king. The left panel depicts a fight in the castle and gruesome scenes. It also shows a wheeled wooden siege tower with massive wheels, which have not previously been seen in Anatolia and Mesopotamia. Hittite cuneiform texts had mentioned such a tower but that scholars had never encountered any visual proof. The scene in the relief’s other panel depicted a goddess figure carrying an enemy soldier. The relief is believed to highlight the role of the goddess in winning the war by placing it in the centre of the war panel. According to the experts similar figures are seen on the cylinder seals in the era of the king of Larsa in 1862 BC and the era of Hammurabi in 1779 BC. The style in which the figures are depicted relate to the Akkadian school which was a powerful civilization in Mesopotamia between 2300 and 2150 BC. The winged goddess and the tasselled headgear worn by the king on the relief was seen in the mid-Bronze age, which was one of the clues to dating the time of the artefact’s creation.
(after Hurriyet Daily News & AA photo)