Ancient Neo-Assyrian Rock Art Discovered in Turkey

ANKARA, TURKEY—Live Science reports that researchers study a subterranean complex consisting of an entrance chamber and an upper and lower gallery carved into the limestone rock in what is now the village of Başbük in southeastern Turkey. Although the looters first entered the structure through a hole dug in the floor of a house in the village, the police intervened and alerted archaeologists at the Şanlıurfa Archaeological Museum. The structure is believed to have been used by a fertility cult in the 9th century BC which combined local and Assyrian elements. For example, the designs on the walls bear Assyrian religious themes, according to Selim Ferruh Adalı of Ankara University, but have been adapted to the local Aramaic style. Aramaic inscriptions mark images of Hadad, the Assyrian god of storms, rain, and thunder; Atargatis, goddess of fertility and protection of northern Syria and wife of Hadad; Sîn, the god of the moon; and Šamaš, the sun god. “They reflect an earlier phase of the Assyrian presence in the region, when local elements were more prominent,” Adalı explained. Another inscription in the complex may refer to Mukīn-abūa, a Neo-Assyrian official during the reign of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III (r. 811–783 BC), who may have come govern the region. Once the site is stabilized, new excavations will take place. Read the original scientific article on this research in antiquity. To learn more about the writings of Neo-Assyrian scholars, visit “Ancient Academia”.

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