Previously unknown potern found in Hittite capital

Excavations at Alacahöyük, one of the most important Hittite sites in Turkey, revealed a secret tunnel, called a potern. The unexpected discovery this season was made during work at a sanctuary found in 2014.

The secret tunnel found in Alacahöyük (by Hurriyet Daily News)
The secret tunnel found in Alacahöyük (by Hurriyet Daily News)

The newly discovered structure provides evidence of possible existence of other poterns in Alacahöyük. The tunnel isn’t fully unearthed at the moment, as the archaeological investigation at the site continues. The dig started at the gate that served as an entrance to the sanctuary and was able to reveal 23 metres of the tunnels length. Archaeologists suspect it might be even longer. Poterns served as secret tunnels leading into and outside structures through fortification walls. They are a feature found at main Hittite settlements, including the capital Hattusa and Alishar Hüyük. Previously a tunnel in Alacahöyük was found running under the gate at the West side of the city. Archaeologists suspect that the new tunnel might have also served a ceremonial role, as it leads to the sanctuary.

Alacahöyük was one of the Bronze Age Hittite Empire’s capitals. The Hittites established their city on a previous settlement of the Hatti people. The ongoing research at the site is a continuation of the first excavation in Turkey ever conducted by Turkish archaeologists – Ottoman archaeologist Makridi Bey in 1907, and later his successors.

(after Hurriyet Daily News)

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