Yumuktepe (Mersin)
Situated beside the Soğuk Su in the western part of the Cilician Plain, the mound of Yumuktepe was occupied many times from Neolithic to Medieval. It is 25 m high and covers almost 5 hectares, although the prehistoric mound was small and low, with the entrance from the west and the river along the east side. Originally excavated in 1937-39 and 1946-47 by John Garstang, it is now being investigated by a joint Turkish-Italian expedition directed by V. Sevin and Isabella Caneva. Garstang identified 33 levels, of which levels XXXIII-XXV were Neolithic, XXIV-XII Chalcolithic, XI-V 2nd millennium BC, IV-III Iron Age, II Byzantine and I Islamic. A second Late Neolithic phase (between XXV and XXIV) has now been identified. Other new finds are a second, western gate in the fortification wall of level XVI, while the Medieval wall has been shown to stand on a Late Hittite wall.
In the medieval trenches on top of the mound remains of the upper, 13th century AD, layer were poorly preserved but produced a number of cooking pots. Below was the church found in 2005. It had an opus sectile floor and underground drainage system. Small rooms of this earlier (11th century) phase may be from workshops associated with the church. In them were found fragments of two lustre bowls, probably imported from Syria or Egypt, and a rectangular ivory inlay plaque incised with birds, a tree-of-life and scrolls.The Iron Age trenches on the east slope produced architecture with walls of round creek stones. The pottery included Late Iron Age (6th-5th centuries BC) and Classical, including Red Figure, examples.On the southeast slope the Hittite deposits, dating about 1500 BC, produced two rooms and, to the south of them, a pebble-paved road extending to the stone terrace wall. Associated with these remains was pottery of standard Hittite types, as well as bronze spear points and a knife with curved blade.The Late Neolithic (5800 BC) area with oval houses and stone-paved road was extended to the south of the road. Lots of ashes and other evidence suggest this area was used for bone/antler and stone workshops while the road was in use. Under this layer is Garstang's silo-base layer (his Level XXIV). Two new storerooms of the same type were found side by side. Also in this level were two burials, one of a cat and one of a young child with necklace and bracelet made from about 100 stone beads of many different colours. In the Early Neolithic area were the much damaged remains of wattle-and-daub houses, built without stone foundations, and fragments of a chaff-tempered clay bin, all destroyed by fire about 6500 BC. The pottery associated with this level was fine and brown, and the vessels were hemispherical. The most common cereal was Triticum monococcum and a piece of bread made from this wheat was found. There is very little evidence of hunting; the animals were almost all domesticated.
In 2005 work took place in a number of areas. On the north and southeast sides were Chalcolithic terraces dating to 4600-4330 BC, and Late Neolithic oval houses with domestic pottery overlay pebbled Middle Neolithic surfaces. One MN mud brick contained the imprint of an ear of domesticated wheat. On the slope were a number of LN storage pits containing carbonized olives and figs.On the southeast slope were found Iron Age and Bronze Age remains, while Hittite pits/silos with masses of shells were found in a stratigraphic sounding on the west slope.A large exposure of the Medieval remains on the summit of the mound revealed a deposit of tiles from the collapsed roof of a church. A single pillar base was found and traces of wall painting. An area to the north produced large storage jars. Finds included metal crosses, lead seals, a coin of Crusader type and pottery of the 12th-13th centuries.
In 2004 two months were spent investigating the sequence from Late Neolithic to Halaf. In the northwest the final Neolithic phase (not represented in the Garstang excavations) was found. Belonging to this were an apsidal house with stone foundations and a stone-paved road. This had a curb wall and postholes along one side. This phase dates to 5800 BC. The pottery was decorated with geometric motifs. In the Middle Chalcolithic level XV more rooms were found either side of the road and in the underlying level XVI a stone cup that could be a crucible was found. Animal bones and a sealing (the first on the site) were found in these layers, which date from 4600 to 4300 BC. Halaf remains with thick wall foundations were found below.In the west trench the Hittite city wall was found and on top of the mound were uncovered a large building with storage facilities of the 12th century AD and burials of the 13th century AD.

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