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Ancient mountain routes connecting central Anatolia to the upper Euphrates region



Field surveys carried out within the upper Kızılırmak region have shown that the natural route-ways passing through the area have connected central Anatolia to eastern Anatolia throughout the ages. The route from north-central Anatolia reaches the Kızılırmak river by passing through the plains of Çekerek, Yıldızeli and Yıldız. The Kızılırmak river can be crossed on horseback where the road ends. A second route connects south-central Anatolia to Sivas by passing through the plains of Gemerek and Şarkışla, and leads to eastern Anatolia by passing through the Kızılırmak valley after Sivas. A third route reaches Altınyayla by passing through the Kızılırmak valley, the Şarkışla plain and reaches the plain of Malatya by travelling through a pass of the Kulmaç mountains running along the Balıklıtohma valley. A fourth route connects Sivas with Malatya via Taşlıdere, Ulaş, Kangal and Alacahan. Fieldwork has shown that these routes have been almost continuously used since the middle of the third millennium BC.
Topographical structure plays an important role in
determining the means of travel between different
regions. Ancient societies used routeways that formed
natural crossing points through mountains or over rivers,
where people, pack animals or carriages were able to
travel most easily. Pre-modern highways and railways
also run along these natural routes. Study of ancient sites
located on such a natural routeway can indicate which
periods the route was in use and the character of its
usage. The presence of fortified sites, for example,
suggests a defended military route, whereas the recovery
of imported ceramics within site assemblages indicates
the existence of a trade route.
The case study of this paper is the upper Kızılırmak
region of the modern province of Sivas within the
transition zone between the central Anatolian high
plateau and the eastern Anatolian highlands (fig. 1). Data
regarding the ancient history of this region has been
provided by surveys and the excavation of small-scale
soundings during the 20th century. Prio to my own
fieldwork, surveys (Ökse 1998; 2005b) were conducted
along the main roads and aimed to explore the ancient
cultures of eastern and central Anatolia. These surveys
identified less than 60 ancient sites within the upper
Kızılırmak region however, and the published material is
insufficient for interpreting the cultural structure of the
The surveys carried out by myself between 1992 and
2000 aimed to explore the cultural structure of the region
and the probable interactions between central and eastern
Anatolian Studies 57 (2007): 000000
Ancient mountain routes connecting central Anatolia
to the upper Euphrates region
A. Tuba Ökse
Kocaeli University
Field surveys carried out within the upper Halys region have shown that the natural routeways passing through the area
have connected central Anatolia to eastern Anatolia throughout the ages. The route from north-central Anatolia reaches
the Kızılırmak river by passing through the plains of Çekerek, Yıldızeli and Yıldız. The Kızılırmak river can be
crossed on horseback where the road ends. A second route connects south-central Anatolia to Sivas by passing through
the plains of Gemerek and Şarkışla, and leads to eastern Anatolia by passing through the Kızılırmak valley after Sivas.
A third route reaches Altınyayla by passing through the Kızılırmak valley, the Şarkışla plain and reaches the plain of
Malatya by travelling through a pass of the Kulmaç mountains running along the Balıklıtohma valley. A fourth route
connects Sivas with Malatya via Taşlıdere, Ulaş, Kangal and Alacahan. Fieldwork has shown that these routes have
been almost continuously used since the middle of the third millennium BC.
Yukarı Kızılırmak havzasında sürdürülen yüzey araştırmaları, bu bölgeden geçen doğal yolların çağlar boyunca Orta
Anadolu’yu Doğu Anadolu’ya bağladığını göstermiştir. Orta Anadolu’nun kuzey kesiminden gelerek Kızılırmak
nehrine ulaşan doğal yol, Çekerek, Yıldızeli ve Yıldız ovalarından geçer. Bu yolun Kızılırmak kıyısına ulaştığı
bölgede nehir, at sırtında geçilebilmektedir. İkinci bir yol Orta Anadolu’nun güney kesiminden gelen, Gemerek ve
Şarkışla ovalarından geçerek Sivas’a ulaşan yoldur ve Kızılırmak vadisini izleyerek doğu Anadolu’ya ulaşır. Üçüncü
yol Kızılırmak vadisinden başlayan ve Şarkışla ovasını geçerek Altınyayla’ya ulaşan yoldur. Bu yol Kulmaç dağlarının
geçitlerinden geçer ve Balıklıtohma vadisini izleyerek Malatya ovasına ulaşır. Sivas’ı Malatya’ya bağlayan dördüncü
yol Taşlıdere vadisini izleyerek Ulaş, Kangal ve Alacahan’dan geçer. Yüzey araştırmaları, bu doğal yolların MÖ. 3.
bin ortalarından itibaren çağlar boyunca kullanılmış olduklarını kanıtlamıştır.
Anatolia. Another goal was to reconstruct the settlement
pattern of the study area in various periods, in order to
assess continuity and change through time, and to recon-
struct interregional relations. The surveys revealed about
750 sites within the basins of the upper Kızılırmak river
and the rivers of Tohma and Çaltı, dating from the
Chalcolithic to the end of the Ottoman period. Recent
excavations at two important cities Kuşaklı (Müller-
Karpe 1998: 93174) on the high plain of Altınyayla and
Kayalıpınar (Ökse 2000: 9192; Müller-Karpe 2000:
35565) on the Kızılırmak river have highlighted the
importance of this region for the Hittites.
Geographical characteristics
The region has a steep and broken topography enclosed
by high mountain zones (fig. 2). The Çamlıbel and
Yıldız mountains, and the Akdağ, Çeltek and Kösedağ
ranges enclose the region to the north. These mountains
are the southern extension of Inner Pontic ore-bearing
strata rich in copper, silver, lead and zinc. Some of the
ore strata have been exploited since the third millennium
BC (de Jesus 1980: 25354, 275; Kaptan 1995: 19195).
The modern highway from central Anatolia to Sivas
passes through the Çekerek, Yıldızeli and Yıldızırmak
valleys to the south of these mountains. The lower
mountain ranges of İncebel and Şamadağ enclose the
Kızılırmak valley to the south, and the plains of Şarkışla,
Kayadibi and Ulaş lie to the south of this zone. The
modern highway from Kayseri to Sivas passes through
these plains and continues to the east, towards Hafik and
Zara. These plains and the area of Altınyayla are
bordered by the Kulmaç, Tecer and Gürlevik mountain
ranges which are the northern extension of the Divriği-
Kangal-Gürün iron ore-bearing strata. These mountains
seperate the upper Kızılırmak region from the higher
catchment areas of the main rivers flowing to the south.
Springs flowing from this mountain zone form the
Zamantı river, which flows into the Seyhan river, and the
Balıklıtohma and Kangal tributaries, which drain into the
Euphrates river. These river courses create natural passes
suitable for travellers.
The study area was explored by both extensive surveys
and intensive surveys. The sites were primarily
documented according to their topographical location,
their distances to neighbouring sites, fields, water
sources and natural routes, in order to reconstruct their
function. Examples of functions identified include
strategic military sites for controlling significant roads,
administrative centres, sites for food production (crop
husbandry near plains and animal husbandry on plateaus)
and sites associated with mining.
The settlement area was estimated according to sherd
scatters (Wilkinson 1982; Read 1986), and in some cases
the intramural settlement and districts were examined as
seperate units, in order to estimate the settlement area in
different periods (Ökse 2006: 17172). Intensive
surveys were also carried out around large sites, in order
to reconstruct administrative units within selected
sections of the survey area. The areas occupied by
different sites were assessed together with the distances
between site locations, in order to examine the relation-
ships between large central sites and smaller satellite
settlements (Christaller 1933: 119; Bernbeck 1997: 153
For the purposes of the case study in this paper, the
existence of a site at a natural passageway through
mountains or at a location where a river could easily be
crossed without a bridge was regarded as significant,
since use of these locations might indicate the existence
of an ancient caravan route. Sites at such locations may
have provided protection for those using the routeway or
might have functioned as overnight stops for travellers.
The distances between sites surveyed within the
upper Kızılırmak region vary according to period.
Distances between Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age
sites varied between 1.5km to 10km (Ökse 2005c: 68; in
press), distances between Middle Bronze Age sites were
10km to 15km (Ökse 2003a: 130; 2005c: 69) and
distances between Late Bronze Age sites were 15km to
35km (Ökse 2000: 106; 2001: 50405; 2006: 177-179).
The distance which can be covered on foot in one hour is
generally estimated to be 5km and the distance that can
be walked in one day is thought to be 20km (Christaller
1933: 119; Bernbeck 1997: 15355). The distance
covered by riding could possibly be doubled, but, if there
are mountains to be crossed between two sites, the
distance potentially covered within a day on steep and
broken ground should be reduced accordingly. With
these factors in mind, it can be seen that most sites
identified within the survey were within one day’s walk
or ride of each other and therefore could have acted as
overnight stopping places.
The bridges and stone paved roads examined in the
study area date from the Roman period onwards. No
paved roads and bridges dating to the Bronze Age or to
earlier periods were recognised during the surveys, but
the settlement distributions suggest that ancient inhabi-
tants of the region used the easiest connections through
the natural topography for travel. Sections of routeways
that were not suitable for carriages were probably made
accessible by levelling uneven ground and building
bridges. Although evidence for this is now lacking, it can
be assumed that prior to the Roman period these struc-
tures might have been buit using degradable materials
Anatolian Studies 2007
such as wood, or were replaced by later structures.
The road network
Within the surveyed area, there are four main routes still
followed by the modern highways and railways (fig. 1).
Two roads connecting central Anatolia to eastern
Anatolia are oriented east-west. One of these connects
the northern part of central Anatolia while the other one
leads to eastern Anatolia and connects the southern part
to Sivas, where the two roads unite. The two routes
connecting central Anatolia to the upper Euphrates basin
are oriented nortwest-southeast: the western route passes
through Şarkışla and Altınyayla; while the eastern one
passes through Sivas, Ulaş, Kangal and Alacahan. Both
routes reach the Malatya plain.
The northwest route
This has two different routes. The Tokat-Sivas route
passes through the valleys of the Çekerek river to the
south of Yıldızeli, reaching the Kızılırmak river via a
routeway passing through the mountain ranges of
Çamlıbel and Yıldız. On the northwest route there are
strategic ancient sites and fortresses facing the road
crossing the Yıldızeli plain, which are connected to it by
narrow valleys.
The Tokat-Şarkışla route passes through the plateux
within the plain of the Yıldızırmak, which connects the
Çekerek plain to the Kızılırmak valley. Along this
section, there are points where the Kızılırmak river can
be crossed on foot or by horse. The modern highway
follows the Kızılırmak valley from the Yıldız plain and
crosses the river bed by a bridge at Harabe by
Kayalıpınar (figs 5, 6). At this location there is a fortified
Hittite city which was occupied continuously from the
Early Bronze Age to the Hellenistic-Roman period (Ökse
2000: 9192; 2006: 172; Müller-Karpe 2000: 35565),
underlining the importance of this crossing point through
the ages.
The southwest road
The Kızılırmak valley is bordered by the İncebel-
Şamadağ mountain zone in the south and the valley
narrows here. Ancient routes and the modern roads
therefore follow the plains of Gemerek, Şarkışla,
Kayadibi and Ulaş. Along this road there are several
ancient sites on the plateaux to the south and north
flanking the Şarkışla plain.
This route is connected to the Kızılırmak valley by
roads that follow the small valleys crossing the İncebel
and Şamadağ mountainous zone. Along this route there
is a small fortified site at Kahvepınar (figs 5, 6) which
was settled continuously from the Early Bronze Age to
the Hellenistic-Roman period (Ökse 2000: 9798). The
site was then abandoned, although a small medieval
fortress was situated on the opposite side of the valley.
The eastern road
The plains to the south of the Kızılırmak valley continue
to the east via Sivas, Hafik and Zara. The modern
highway to Erzincan follows this route. On this road
there are strategic small sites to the south of the river
situated on natural hills facing the road (Ökse 2003a:
130; 2005c: 69). These sites were settled from the Early
Bronze Age.
The southeastern road
The road from the Şarkışla plain to Altınyayla passes
through the Acısu valley and over the plateau. The road
goes to the south by passing through the Kulmaç
mountains. Another fortified Hittite site commands this
pass at Aşağı Kalaca (fig. 6). The site was later re-used
in the Hellenistic and Roman periods and faces the
routeway following the Balıklıtohma valley to Havuzköy,
a plateau settlement on the northern edge of the basalt
plateau of Karakesi Düzü. The road then passes through
the Tohma valley before reaching the Malatya plain.
The modern highway and railway from Sivas to
Malatya pass through the Taşlıdere canyon and reaches
the Ulaş plain. The highway then goes to Kangal. The
road then leads to the south and reaches Malatya by
following the Kuruçay and the Eskiköprü valleys via
Alacahan and Hekimhan. An alternative route follows
the valleys of the Kangal and Çaltı rivers, both tributaries
of the Euphrates river, to reach Elazığ. A large settlement
at Koçköprü (fig. 5) is a strategic site lying on the same
routeway as the modern railway and was occupied from
the Chalcolithic to the Roman periods. So, this routeway
seems to have been used continuously from the earliest
periods identified in the survey.
The Chalcolithic routes
The surveyed region demonstrates two different cultural
structures during the Chalcolithic period (Ökse 2003b:
179). The upper Kızılırmak region is part of the area
influenced by central Anatolian Chalcolithic cultures
(fig. 3). A fragment of Hacılar painted pottery was been
found at Gerdekkaya on the Yıldızeli plain and a jar
fragment from the Konya plain was found at Şarkışla
Kalesi (Ökse 2003b: 17778, fig. 8), but monochrome
pottery was found at all sites to the north of the Kulmaç
and Tecer zones. The site pattern around the upper
Kızılırmak region shows that the northwestern and south-
western roads connecting the region to central Anatolia
were in use. Connections between the Şarkışla plain,
Altınyayla and the Ulaş plain existed in this period.
The distribution area of Chalcolithic pottery of the
upper Kızılırmak region is bordered to the south by the
Kulmaç and Tecer mountain zone. The area to the south
of this zone is watered by the Tohma and Çaltı tributaries,
both of which flow into the Euphrates river. In this area,
only Ubaid plain and painted sherds of the north
Mesopotamian Late Chalcolithic period were found. The
plain sherds show the same characteristics as the painted
sherds: all vessels are hand-made and light brown in
colour. In contrast, all Chalcolithic sherds belonging to
the central Anatolian tradition are red, reddish brown and
brown in colour (Ökse 2003b: 177).
According to the distribution of both pottery types,
the upper Kızılırmak region and the upper Euphrates
region do not seem to have been in contact. So the south-
eastern road was not connected with the Kızılırmak
region and the mountain pass of the Kulmaç and Tecer
zone was not used as a trade route in these early periods.
The Early Bronze Age routes
The distribution of painted wares dating to the late third
millennium BC indicates that a road network existed
from the Early Bronze Age (Ökse in press). Imported
sherds of intermediate ware (Orthmann 1963: 2123,
3437; Mellaart 1966: 180; Öktü 1973) have been
collected at eight sites in the surveyed area, and suggest
a trade route passed through the upper Kızılırmak region
(fig. 4).
The sherds collected on the Yıldız plain and those
from the Kızılırmak valley indicate that the northwestern
route was used in this period. The Kızılırmak river can
be crossed by horse at the section around Harabe at
Kayalıpınar. Other sites with sherds of intermediate ware
are located along the southwestern route. The sherds
from Sıçan Höyük and Koçköprü Kalesi from the region
to the south of the Kulmaç and Tecer mountain zone
indicate that the roads to the south, passing through the
Zamantı valley, were used from the Early Bronze Age, in
addition to the southeastern route passing through the
Kangal plain. Sherds of Malatya painted ware (Marro,
Helwing 1995: 37680; Rothman 2003: 109) found at
Tatlıcak Höyük, to the west of Sivas, and at Koçköprü
Kalesi, in the Çaltı valley, indicate that these routes
reached the upper Euphrates basin. Therefore, the region
around the city of Sivas has been a crossing point for the
main roads connecting central Anatolia to the upper
Euphrates region since the mid third millennium BC. A
change in the road pattern from the Chalcolithic period to
the Early Bronze Age can therefore be determined.
The distribution of depa and related forms, which are
typical for western and central Anatolia, across a wide
geographical area from Greece to the middle Euphrates
region is frequently interpreted as a proof of an inter-
regional trade network (Mellink 1998; Şahoğlu 2005).
The existence of ‘syrian bottles’, which are typical for the
middle Euphrates region, as imported vessels from
southern Mesopotamia to central and western Anatolia
indicates another interregional trade network dating to
the second half of the third millennium BC (Özgüç 1986;
Conti, Persiani 1993: 36367, 387, fig. 12; Kontani
1995; Emre 1999; Hauptmann 2000: 242, Abb. 7,11;
Ökse 2005a; Zimmermann 2005: fig. 3).
The existence of a trade network between north-
western Syria and central Anatolia is known from the
state archives of Ebla, through mention of the name of
Kanišu/Kaneša (Pettinato 1979: 106, 226; Matthiae
1981: 176, fig. 47; Klengel 1992: 26, 29). The city is
registered in a school text under 17 countries [this
section does not make sense to the non-specialist.
Please re-write to clarify use of the terms ‘school text’
and ‘countries’] within the territory controlled by the
Kingdom of Ebla. However, no cuneiform archives
dating to the Early Bronze Age were found at Kaneš.
This trade was focused on the distribution of silver and
tin reserves from the Taurus mountains and extended
from Syria to the Aegean (Şahoğlu 2005). The
mountainous zones of the Sivas region are also rich in
lead, silver and copper (de Jesus 1980: map 1; Kelly-
Buccellati 1990: 11922), thus, the region might also
have produced goods for this international trade. The
presence of Akkadian kings in the second half of the
second millennium BC in central Anatolia (van de
Mieroop 2000: 13638) shows their interest in
controlling this trade network after the collapse of the
commercial empire of Ebla.
The Middle Bronze Age routes
The Anatolian trade network was under the control of
Anatolian, Syrian and Mesopotamian merchants at the
beginning of the second millennium BC (Özgüç 1972;
Mellaart 1982; Nashef 1987; Oguchi 1999). According
to cuneiform texts from Kültepe-Kaneš, Anatolia was
divided into feudal kingdoms (Larsen 1976; Veenhof
1995: 86566; Dercksen 2002: 3537). Major cities
often had a karum or wabartum in the lower city, which
operated as a trading post. There are 48 sites (Ökse
2003a) where the characteristic Middle Bronze Age
wheel-made pottery with red burnished slip was found
(Orthmann 1963; Fischer 1963: 109; Özgüç 1986: 54
56). Additionally, a few sherds of Alişar III ware was
found at 18 sites within the surveyed area (fig. 5).
According to the location of the sites examined, the road
from the main market place at Kaneš to the east seems to
have followed the southwestern route. The pottery
assemblages recovered at Karayün and Kül Höyük show
that this road also extended to the east, through the small
plains to the south of the Kızılırmak valley.
Anatolian Studies 2007
There are seven small sites on the plains of Yıldızeli
and Yıldız and a large site at Kalkankaya. These sites are
located along the northwestern route. The ceramic
assemblages at Harabe near Kayalıpınar indicate that the
road probably crossed the Kızılırmak river there. The
fortified site at Kahvepınar (Ökse 2000: 9798) on the
İncebel pass shows that this route was also used during
the Middle Bronze Age to reach the Şarkışla plain.
Occupation dating to this period at Hanlı Höyük, two
sites in the Acısu valley, Kül Höyük in Altınyayla, small
sites at Mancılık and Davul Höyük in the highlands to the
west of the Balıklıtohma valley show that this route
reached as far as the Malatya plain. The existence of
Alişar III ware and characteristic Middle Bronze Age red
burnished sherds at Koçköprü Kalesi might define an
alternative southeastern route passing through the Kangal
The results of the field surveys confirm earlier recon-
structions of several trade routes (Özgüç 1972; Larsen
1976; Mellaart 1982; Nashef 1987; Roaf 1990; Beitzel
1992: 4454; Astour 1995: 141011; Veenhof 1995:
86566; Oguchi 1999; Dercksen 2002: 35-37; Marro
2004) and added new roads to the known total through
this mountanous region. The road passing through the
mountanous part of the upper Kızılırmak region might
have been used as an alternative to the main trade roads,
because of the silver mines of these mountains (de Jesus
1980: map 1) and part of the silver exported to Assur
might have been obtained from this region.
The Late Bronze Age routes
The collapse of the Assyrian trade colonies and feudal
states in the 16th century BC, and the rise of the Hittite
Kingdom as a central power in Anatolia changed the
administrative system, and several Middle Bronze Age
cities lost their importance or were abandoned (Ökse
1998: 36264, Tab. 34). The Hittites controlled a large
empire (Forlanini 1992; Bryce 1998). Several new city
names appear in cuneiform sources (Beckman 1999:
16769; Yakar 2000: 26566, 269), which appear to have
been local administrative centres with control over
happiriya; store house cities within the state’s agricul-
tural supply network, which were located in rural areas.
The Late Bronze Age settlements (fig. 6) within the
surveyed region were identified by sherds of mass-
produced Hittite pottery (Ökse 2000: 99106) which
show strong parallels with the ceramic assemblages of
major Hittite sites (Fischer 1963; Müller-Karpe 1988;
Parzinger, Sanz 1992). All the sites were fortified and
situated on mountain flanks facing the main plains. The
locations of the sites overlooking the Yıldızeli and Yıldız
plains, Gerdekkaya and Kalkankaya, and the large
fortified city at Kayalıpınar on the northern bank of the
Kızılırmak river indicate that the northwestern route was
of importance during the Hittite period. All these sites
are ca 15km apart, meaning the distance from one site to
another can be covered on foot in about three hours. The
Kızılırmak river can be crossed on horseback at the
Hittite city located at Harabe near Kayalıpınar. After
crossing the river, the Hittite site at Kahvepınar on the
mountain route passing through the Şamadağ zone can be
reached in about four hours. The existence of this small
fortified site indicates a route existed from the Kızılırmak
river to the Şarkışla plain.
From Kahvepınar, one can reach the Hittite city of
Kuşaklı on the plain of Altınyayla within six hours and
from there the mountain pass through the Kulmaç
mountains at Aşağı Kalaca can be reached within a
couple of hours. From there, the Malatya plain can be
reached by following the Balıklıtohma valley to
Havuzköy. The route from Kuşaklı to Havuzköy can be
walked within six hours. The southwestern road from
Kayseri to Sivas passes by Kızılcakışla Kalesi and Sur
Tepesi, each around three hours travel apart. From there
the road crosses the plateau to the north and reaches the
Kızılırmak valley opposite Topraktepe at the city of
Distances between the Hittite sites vary between
15km to 35km (Ökse 2000; 2001; 2006: 17779) and the
average occurance of one-day journey times between
these sites suggests that caravans and armies (Faist 2001:
5763) might have used these sites as overnight stopping
places. Previous suggestions regarding Hittite routeways
were partly confirmed by the surveys. The northwestern
and southwestern routes connecting central Anatolia with
the Sivas region had already been identified (Garstang
1943; Cornelius 1955; Garstang, Gurney 1959; Forlanini
1992). All Hittite sites were located in the region to the
west of Sivas. Thus, this region seems to have been the
eastern boundary of the Hittite Empire, as suggested by
several scholars (Ünal 19811983; Yakar 1992; Gurney
2003: 121, 123).
The northwestern and southeastern roads were
controlled by fortified sites, indicating their strategic
importance; however the mountainous eastern part of
Sivas is rich in iron. Cuneiform texts mention that black-
smiths smelted iron in Kizzuwatna, ancient Cilicia
(Muhly, et al. 1985; Maxwell-Hyslop 1974: 13942). It
is possible that smelted iron from Kizzuwatna was trans-
ported to central Anatolia via these roads, and thus they
might have been used both for military purposes and
trade (Faist 2001: 57, 6063).
The Iron Age routes and routes of later periods
The surveys suggest that some of the routes were still
used after the collapse of the Hittite Empire, as already
suggested by Birmingham (1961). Sites with painted
wares (Ökse 1999: 10709, 11216) dating to the 11th to
fifth centuries BC (Sams 1994; Genz 2004) (fig. 7)
indicate that the northwestern, southwestern and eastern
routes were used during this period. A few sherds of the
central Anatolian painted pottery groups were collected
at four sites along the southeastern route showing that the
southeastern route connecting central Anatolia to the
upper Euphrates region was also important during the
Iron Age. The New Assyrian king Salmanassar III fought
against Anatolian states in the ninth century BC and the
Anatolian states built a coalition against Sargon II
towards the end of the eighth century BC.
The frequent distribution of fortifications along the
natural routes shows their further importance during the
Hellenistic (Gill 2003: 10203) and Byzantine (Hild
1977: map 5, 8, 9, 13) periods. The northwestern route
from central Anatolia to Sebastia (Sivas) passed through
Bathyrryax (Yıldızeli), crossing the Kızılırmak over a
Roman bridge. The southwestern route from Kaisareia
(Kayseri) to Sebastia passes through Malandara
(Şarkışla). The southeastern route passes over the
Karakuş bridge on the Kızılırmak river and follows the
İncebel pass. A small watchtower in the middle of the
pass indicates the significance of this road in the
medieval period. The road reached Melitene (Malatya)
via Malandara and Tonosa (Altınyayla). The second
southeastern route from Sebastia to Komana passed
through the Taşlıdere canyon, like the modern highway.
The Roman and Byzantian bridges were repaired or
rebuilt in the Seljukid period. The remains of fortresses
and caravansarays on the routes indicate that the trade
routes continued to pass through the region in the 13th
century (Erdmann 1961; İlter 1969; İlter 1978: 27; Ünal
1978). The ‘Silk Road’ also utilsed these routes. In the
16th century, the ‘Anatolian Central Road’ (Täschner
1924; 1926; Acun 1994) connected Istanbul with
Malatya, following the northwestern and southeastern
routes; caravansarays, as well as bridges, were built along
it (Erdmann 1961; İlter 1978: 27; Acun 1994). In the
16th and 18th centuries Sivas became a significant
commercial centre. The highway network was repaired
and expanded in the early 19th century and the railway
constructed on the same routes. Both networks still
support transportation.
Concluding remarks
The earliest trade routes passing through the upper
Kızılırmak region date back to the mid third illennium
BC. Although no cuneiform texts dating to this period
are available from Anatolian archives, the distribution of
pottery supports the existence of a trade network between
central Anatolia and northern Syria. The distribution of
the so-called intermediate ware at some sites of the upper
Kızılırmak region (Ökse in press), located along natural
routeways connecting central Anatolia with the upper
Euphrates region, also points to a probable commercial
The distribution of Alişar III ware at some sites
within the upper Kızılırmak region (Ökse 2003a: 124;
2005c: 6970) indicates the continuing significance of
these natural routes in the early second millennium BC
for local people and merchants. In the Old Assyrian
period, the route passing through the mountanous part of
the upper Kızılırmak region might have gained impor-
tance because silver was mined in the area (de Jesus
1980: map 1) for export to Assur.
In the Late Bronze Age the Hittites controlled these
natural routes and appear to have used them for both
military purposes and trade (Faist 2001: 57, 6063). The
export of silver from the eastern part of the Sivas region
ceased in the Hittite period, but demand for iron from the
mines between Sivas and Malatya was created by Hittite
blacksmiths in Kizzuwatna, ancient Cilicia (Muhly, et al.
1985; Maxwell-Hyslop 1974: 13941). The transport of
iron to Kizzuwatna might have taken place along the
roads passing through the surveyed region, which in the
Hittite period were also protected with fortified sites.
The surveyed region is located in a geographical
transitional zone between central Anatolia and
mountainous eastern Anatolia, and also acted as a
cultural boundary between the central Anatolians and the
‘barbarian tribes’ of the eastern mountanious regions
(Ünal 19811983; Yakar 1992; Gurney 2003: 121, 123).
The region’s terrain made the foundation of large
metropolei difficult, but Assyrian merchants and Hittites
seem to have used routeways in the region to access
Cilicia, northern Syria and the Euphrates region as an
alternative to the major routes though the Cilician Gates,
Kahramanmaraş and the Gaziantep plains.
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Fig. 1. Location of the survey area. 1: Ankara; 2: Çorum; 3: Yozgat; 4: Tokat; 5: Amasya; 6: Sivas; 7: Kayseri; 8:
Adana; 9: Gaziantep; 10: Kahramanmaraş; 11: Şanlıurfa; 12: Diyarbakır; 13: Malatya; 14: Elazığ; 15: Erzincan
Fig. 2. Geography of the survey area
Fig. 3. The Chalcolithic period. 1: Yıldızeli/Selamet-
Gerdekkaya (Hacılar painted pottery); 2: Şarkışla Kalesi
(Canhasan painted pottery); 3: Kangal/Çetinkaya-
Koçköprü Kalesi (Ubaidian painted pottery)
Fig. 4. The Early Bronze Age. Findspots of intermediate
painted pottery. 1: Yıldızeli/Argaz-Dolma Tepe; 2:
Merkez/Sivas-Köroğlu Mağaraları; 3: Merkez/Çallı-
Küllük Tepesi; 4: Merkez/Tatlıcak-Höyük; 5: Yıldızeli/
Kayalıpınar-Harabe; 6: Şarkışla/Lisanlı-Kül Höyük; 7:
Kangal/Yukarı Höyük-Sıçanhöyük; 8: Kangal/
Çetinkaya-Koçköprü Kalesi
Anatolian Studies 2007
Fig. 5. The Middle Bronze Age. Findspots of Alişar III
painted pottery and red slipped burnished wheel-made
pottery. 1: Yıldızeli/Selamet-Gerdekkaya; 2:
Yıldızeli/Bayat-Kalkankaya; 3: Yıldızeli/Kayalıpınar-
Harabe; 4: Şarkışla-Kahvep?nar; 5: Şarkışla/Lisanlı-
Kül Höyük; 6: Gemerek/Yeniçubuk-Höyük; 7:
Merkez/Tatlıcak-Höyük; 8: Merkez/Sivas-Pulur; 9:
Merkez/Karayün-Höyük; 10: Zara/Kadriye-Kül Höyük;
11: Merkez/Hanlı-Höyük; 12: Merkez/Çallı-Küllük
Tepesi; 13: Altınyayla/Başören-Külhöyük; 14:
Altınyayla/Yeşilyurt-Karatepe; 15: Ulaş/Yapalı-Kayanın
Ucu; 16: Kangal/Çetinkaya-Koçköprü Kalesi; 17:
Kangal/Mancılık-Küçük Tepe; 18: Gürün-Davul Höyük
Fig. 6. The Late Bronze Age. Findspots of Hittite
standard pottery. 1: Yıldızeli/Selamet-Gerdekkaya; 2:
Yıldızeli/Bayat-Kalkankaya; 3: Merkez/Sivas-
Topraktepe; 4: Yıldızeli/Kayalıpınar-Harabe; 5:
Şarkışla-Kahvepınar; 6: Şarkışla/Kızılcakışla-Kale; 7:
Altınyayla/Başören-Kuşaklı; 8: Merkez/Eski Apardı-Sur
Tepesi; 9: Kangal/Aşağı Kalaca; 10: Kangal-Havuzköy
Fig. 7. The Iron Age. Findspots of Anatolian Iron Age
painted pottery. 1: Yıldızeli/Güneykaya-Pulur; 2:
Yıldızeli/Selamet-Gerdekkaya; 3: Yıldızeli/Argaz-Dolma
Tepe; 4: Yıldızeli/Bayat-Kalkankaya; 5: Şarkışla-
Kahvepınar; 6: Şarkışla-Merkez Höyük; 7:
Gemerek/Karagöl-Külüyığın Tepesi; 8: Merkez/
Beypınarı-Büyükkale; 9: Merkez/Karayün-Höyük; 10:
Zara/Tekke-Kül Höyük; 11: Zara/Kadriye-Kül Tepesi;
12: Altınyayla/Serinyayla-Kuşaklı Tepe; 13:
Altınyayla/Gümüşpınar-Karataş; 14: Kangal/Kavak-
Höyük Değirmeni; 15: Divriği-Yalnızsögüt-Höyük; 16:
Kangal/Mancılık-Küçük Tepe
... Bu yerleşimlerden Yıldızeli ilçesi Kayalıpınar Köyü yakınlarında yer alan Šamuha, 9 Karadeniz'e açılan yol hattı üzerinde yer alırken, Gürün'e lokalize edilen Tegarama, 10 Malatya'ya 5 A.Tuba Ökse, "Ancient Mountain Routes Connecting Central Anatolia to the Upper Euphrates Region", Anatolian Studies, Vol. 57, 2007, s. 39 6 Ökse, 2007, s. 40. 7 Cahit Günbattı, Kültepe-Kaniş Anadolu'da İlk Yazı İlk Belgeler, Kayseri Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür Yayınları, Kayseri 2012 A. Tuba Ökse, "Asur Ticaret Kolonileri Çağında Sivas", Cumhuriyetin 80. Yılında Sivas Sempozyumu, Sivas, 2003, s. 125. 9 Turgut Yiğit, "M.Ö. ...
... VI A Döneminde Arslantepe'nin dış ilişkileri birçok yöne doğru önemli oranda genişlemeye başladı. Esas etki kesinlikle güneydeki Uruk kültüründen gelmekle birlikte, çağdaş Orta Anadolu çanak çömleğiyle yakın bağlantıya işaret eden (D'Anna 2010;2015; 2019; bu yayında) sarayda önemli sayıda bulunan yeni tür el yapımı Kırmızı-Siyah Perdahlanmış Kapların varlığı, belki yerleşik olmayan, civardaki bölgelerde hareket halinde ve bir şekilde Kuzey-Orta Anadolu dünyasıyla (Fig. 15) bağlantısı bulunan farklı gruplarla etkileşim içerisine girildiği fikrini ortaya atmaktadır (Çalışkan Akgül 2012;Palumbi 2008b;Ökse 2007). ...
... , is currently shared by many scholars, cf.Ökse 2007;Palumbi 2008b;Çalışkan Akgül 2012Çalışkan Akgül , 2013 The role played by pastoral nomadic populations in the formation of the same Uruk system has been recently stressed by Anne Porter, though, in my opinion, attaching too prominent a part to it (seePorter 2012). ...
Full-text available
Routes are part of broader 'landscapes of movement', having an impact on and being impacted by other socio-cultural processes. Most recent studies on connectivity networks remain highly topographic in scope, incidentally resulting in the restitution of a long term fixity. The anachronistic transposition of best known route networks across various ages, irrespective of context-specific circumstances, further enhances this static approach. On the other hand, when changes in connectivity are considered, trends are generally analysed over 'big jumps', often spanning several centuries. This article aims to contextualise dynamics of change in route trajectories within shorter and well-defined chronological boundaries with a case study on the evolution of route landscapes across the Taurus mountains under the Hittite kingdom and empire (ca. 1650–1200 BCE). I will adopt an integrated approach to multiple datasets, aiming to investigate variables operating at different time depths. In the conclusions, I will argue that, while the Hittite route system in the target area was in part rooted on previous patterns of connectivity, some eventful shifts can also be individuated and historically explained. This enables, in turn, an enhanced perspective on the formation and transformation of Hittite socio-cultural landscapes.
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The reconstruction of ancient road systems is undoubtedly one of the main objectives of historical geography. However, tracing ancient routes-which formed pathways of cultural, economic and political interchange-remains often difficult, because of the scarcity of historical and archaeological sources, and of the inherent problems in the identification of ancient toponyms. This is certainly true for the southeastern region of Anatolia in pre-Classical times: although epigraphic sources of different provenience do provide us with some information on ancient itineraries, many uncertainties and gaps in documentation still prevent an overall comprehension of ancient road systems. As a case study, the present article analyses the ancient site of Melid (Malatya), identified with the Arslantepe mound located in the Malatya plain. Ancient sources will be re-analysed with the help of computational modelling, which may fill in, at least partially, the gaps in the available documentation, simulating the impact of the social interactions and political changes over the evolution of an ancient road system.
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Abstract The subject of this study is trade in Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age. With examples from various regions of Anatolia dimensions of trade and its contribution to the development of the Anatolian economy. On the other hand, trade models and types in Anatolia are tried to be determined with examples. The number of excavations and surveys carried out in Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age has been increasing in recent years. This situation increases our knowledge about Early Bronze Age Anatolia. There is quite a lot of data about the Anatolian economy in this period. However, it is noteworthy that there is a limited number of general studies on trade and commercial products, which are perhaps the most concrete actions of the economy. The main objective of this study was made available upon with concrete examples of how the trade is to reach a general assessment on trading results based on archaeological evidence and archaeometric analysis. Within this framework, interregional trade in Anatolia and long-distance trade outside Anatolia were evaluated together. In the light of archaeological evidence, it was concluded that trade was conducted interregional trade in Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age and that it was engaged in commercial activities with contemporary cultures of Syria, Mesopotamia and the Aegean World. In long-distance trade, a large link network consisting of large main settlements and / or smaller intermediate settlements, possibly involving multiple settlements on the geographically optimal road network, should be established with the support of the governing classes in the cities. As a result, the existence of commercial activities with interregional in Anatolia and long-distance with Anatolia during the Early Bronze Age is proved by archaeological data. Various archaeological evidence has been evaluated in this study. A limited number of archaeological evidence has been evaluated in this study. It is accepted that globalization started in the Near East in this period when commercial relations increased.
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This article consists of the study of a foot shaped stamp seal and three pieces of Depas Amphikypellon findings which were discovered during the Suluca Höyük excavations but haven't been published. Suluca Karahöyük which is located in Central Cappadocia (in Halys curve) has close relationships with Western Anatolia and Aegean World as well as Central Anatolian cultures in terms of its location. Two of the Suluca Karahöyük Depas belongs to a group observed after Troia IIg according to type definition of Christian Podzuweit and its existence continued in Troia III layer. Current findings have contributed to the increase in the number of types. Especially the distribution and types in Central Anatolia have shown that they were produced locally in different centers in the inner parts as well as in Kültepe types. The last depas is similar to the type of the Pisidia. However ware properties are closer to local groups. The foot shaped stamp seal made from terracotta is dated to the end of EBA II and mid of EBA III according to finding locations and it is in accordance with routes of "Great Caravan Road" frame of which drawn by Turan Efe. However, they consist of only a few examples between the Syrian-Cilicia region and the 54 Atila TÜRKER The Suluca Karahöyük findings which are dated between late EBA II and mid of EBA III, provide new contributions to the view of Anatolia continental trade and its relations with coastal areas. ÖZET Suluca Karahöyük kazıları sırasında bulunmuş fakat yayınlanmamış bir ayak biçimli damga mühür ve üç adet Depas Amphikypellon bu yazının konusunu oluşturmaktadır. Merkezi Kapadokya'da (Kızılırmak Kavsinde) bulunan Suluca Karahöyük, konumu bakımından Orta Anadolu kültürleriyle olduğu kadar Batı Anadolu ve Ege Dünyasıyla da yakın ilişkiler kurmuştur. Suluca Karahöyük Depaslarından ikisi, Christian Podzuweit'in tip tanımına göre Troia IIg'den sonra gözlemlenen ve varlığı Troia III tabakasında devam eden bir gruba aittir. Güncel buluntular tip sayısının artmasına katkı sağlamıştır. Özellikle Orta Anadolu'daki yayılımı ve tipleri, Kültepe tiplerinde olduğu gibi, üretimin iç kesimlerdeki farklı merkezlerde yerel olarak da üretildiğini göstermiştir. Sonuncu depas Pisidya tipinin benzeridir. Fakat mal özellikleri yerel hamur gruplarına daha yakındır. Pişmiş topraktan yapılmış ayak biçimli damga mühür, buluntu yerlerine göre ETÇ II sonu ile ETÇ III ortalarına tarihlendirilmektedir ve Turan Efe'nin çizdiği "Büyük Kervan Yolu" güzergâhıyla uyumludur. Ancak bunlar Suriye-Kilikya bölgesi ile Kuzey Ege arasında az sayıdaki örnekten ibarettir. ETÇ II sonu ile İTÇ III ortalarına tarihlenen Suluca Karahöyük bulguları, Anadolu kıta ticaretine ve kıyı alanları ile olan ilişkilerine yeni katkılar sağlamıştır.
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The monumental Early Bronze Age settlement at Liman Tepe (Levels VI–IV) (predecessor of the classical site of Klazomenai), on the southern shore of the Gulf of Izmir, is a good indication of the emergence of settlements with centralised organisation on the west coast of Anatolia. Similar developments can also be followed in Troy at the northernmost limit of the western coastline, on the islands of the north and east Aegean, and at the inland site of Küllüoba in north-west Anatolia. Over a much wider geographical area, extending from south-eastern Anatolia via central and western Anatolia, the islands of the east Aegean, the Cyclades, and mainland Greece, a distinctive set of cultural features emerged at the end of Early Bronze Age II. An explanation of the cultural changes taking place along the west Anatolian coastline at this time should thus be sought in the perspective of this wider sphere. These features can be summarised as follows: These cultural changes, appearing suddenly in a wide geographical range at approximately the same time, can only be explained by the presence of wide international contacts. The character and the nature of these relations are becoming clearer as recent excavations yield new information. This paper aims to shed new light on the nature of the Anatolian Trade Network (ATN) period in the light of new archaeological data from Liman Tepe and Bakla Tepe located on the west Anatolian coastline. The importance of the Izmir region as a bridge between the land trade routes of Anatolia and the sea trade routes of the Aegean and various effects of this unique location on the region's cultural development are discussed.
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1992-2000 surveys carried out in the Sivas region revealed 154 sites with sherds dating to the 3rd mill. B.C. These sites are mostly small, and the dimensions of the Early Bronze Age levels of the larger multi-period sites cannot be estimated, since no excavations have been undertaken there. Thus, no settlement hierarchy is visible. More sites are on plateaus than on plains and those settlements situated close to each other formed groups of small settlements which might have been seasonal pastures of transhumant communities practicing stock breeding as well as agriculture. Survey samples indicate a transitional zone between the Central and East Anatolian hand made burnished wares. The distribution of the locally produced "Maltepe painted" ware points to an administrative unit in the central part of this zone. The imported wares indicate a trade route between Central Anatolia and the Upper Euphrates region which had passed through this zone, thus this unit might have played a role in the long-distance trade between Anatolia and Northern Syria.
Eski Önasya'da besin maddelerinin uzak mesafeye taşıması için pişmiş topraktan üretilmiş testi, anfora, şişe, çömlek, küp, matara gibi kaplar kullanılmıştır. Akdeniz kıyılarında bulunan çeşitli dönemlere ait batıklarda ele geçen anforalar ile ticari amaçlı olarak şarap taşındığı bilinmektedir(1). Kuzey Suıiye'de ve Orta Fırat havzasında üretilen ve arkeoloji literatüründe yoğun bulundukları bölgeye atfen "Suriye Şişeleri" olarak adlandırılan kaplarda ise iksir, melhem ya da parfüm saklandığı düşünülmektedir(2).
The development of the skills necessary for working in iron, making possible the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age, has long been regarded as one of the major break-throughs in man's technological history. For Lewis Henry Morgan, writing in 1877, the smelting of iron ore was a development on a par with the domestication of animals (Morgan 1877:39): “The most advanced portion of the human race were halted, so to express it, at certain stages of progress, until some great invention or discovery, such as the domestication of animals or the smelting of iron ore, gave a new and powerful impulse forward.” The importance of the appearance of iron as a practical, utilitarian metal has usually been seen in terms of a military context. With iron it was possible to produce weapons not only superior to those of bronze but also much cheaper. These improvements made it possible to arm a large peasant infantry in order to challenge the military superiority of the chariot forces of the Late Bronze Age aristocracy, armed with bronze weapons.