Investigations into Hittite Culture in the capital of the kingdom
Some 150 km east of Ankara near the village of Boğazkale (earlier Boğazköy) in the Province of Çorum, at the northern reaches of the ancient landscape of Cappadocia. A city approximately two by one kilometers in area, situated on the slopes of a high rocky massif (950-1250 m above NN level).
Investigation of the Hittite culture, its predecessors and its successors. As the capital, from ca. 1650/1600 to 1200 BC Hattusa was the residence of the Great Hittite Kings and the administrative seat as well as the principal cult center. Therefore it is here that we find the highest achievements in the architecture, arts, and crafts of the period. The texts of the incredibly rich cuneiform archives here, moreover, hold the keys to our understanding of religion and cults, politics, and historical geography as well as many other aspects of life in the ancient Near East. Economic aspects and the topography at the site have stood in the foreground of the research in recent years. The project is an excavation of the German Archaeological Institute overseen by the DAI in Istanbul.
Discovery of the site in 1874 by Ch. Texier; first excavations 1893-94; in 1906-1912 the first overall plan and discovery of a large collection of cuneiform tablets; continuous excavation since 1931 under the auspices of the DAI, including the exposure of the entire palace complex and part of the Lower City. In the Upper City 30 temples and other administrative structures have been identified. It was the study of the cuneiform tables of Hattusa (by now some 30,000 fragments) that led to the discipline of Hittitology.
From 1977 to 1993 widespread excavation in the area of the central and eastern Upper City;
1993 to 1998 program of excavation investigating the settlements on the high ridge of Büyükkaya in the northeast of the city: Forschungsbericht Büyükkaya.
1999-2000 investigation of a Hittite granary from the 16th century BC in the Lower City: Forschungsbericht Silokomplex.
2000-2001 investigations into five artificial ponds in the Upper City: Forschungsbericht Südteiche
A new long-term excavation project was launched in 2001 to investigate the settlement history of the western part of the Upper City Forschungsbericht Westliche Oberstadt.
In 2005 the reconstruction of a 65 m long stretch of the Hittite mud brick city wall was completed.
Study and publication of various previous excavations.
Since 2007, in collaboration with the Institut für Vorderasiatische Altertumskunde der Universität Münster, a survey of the city area is under way. For the first time, the artificially carved areas visible on the rocks are documented.
The earliest evidence of settlement at the site harks back to the Chalcolithic period (sixth millennium BC). At the end of the third millennium BC the site represented an Early Bronze Age kingdom, to which in the 19th and 18th centuries BC was appended an Assyrian trade colony. In the late 17th century BC Hattusa became the capital and residence of the Great Hittite Kings, and the following centuries witnessed both the enlargement of the fortified city from 79 to 180 hectares within monumental walls-extended or newly built-and the construction of palace complexes; a temple district was established in the Upper City. The city was deserted around 1200 BC, parallel to the collapse of the Great Hittite Empire. There was only scattered habitation during the "Dark Ages" of the early Iron Age, then more populous settlement during the "Phrygian" Iron Age in the ninth through fifth centuries BC. Further habitation reflects Galatian/Hellenistic times, as well as the Roman and the Byzantine periods.
For detailed information on the site and its history visit the projects website.
The work has been undertaken with the permission of the Turkish General Directorate of Monuments and MuseumsRepublic of Turkey, Ministery of Culture and Tourism.
The Kommission für den Alten Orient der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Mainz is responsible for the study and publication of the cuneiform tablets.
Botanical samples have been investigated by scholars of the Christian-Albrechts-Üniversität Kiel and the Eurasienabteilung des DAI, Abteilung Paläobotanik within the framework of "Untersuchungen zur Umweltgeschichte und Agrarökonomie im Einzugsbereich hethitischer Städte," a project of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
A further DFG project entitled "Die Siegel der hethitischen Großkönige auf Tonbullen aus dem Nişantepe-Archiv in Boğazköy/Hattusa" is in the hands of the Altorientalisches Institut der Universität Leipzig .
Dr. Jürgen Seeher
(Director of the excavation until 2005)
DAI Abteilung Istanbul
İnönü Cad. 10
Telefon: + 90-(0)212-393 76 25
Telefax: + 90 - (0)212-393 76 40
Individual aspects of the work in Hattusa are or have been variously supported by the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Deutschen Orient-Gemeinschaft, and the Theodor Wiegand Gesellschaft. As sponsors, JT INTERNATIONAL , Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2008) and DS-Concept (2008) contribute to the project.
Allgemeinverständliche Einführungen: K. Bittel, Hattuscha, Hauptstadt der Hethiter (1983); P. Neve, Hattusa, Stadt der Götter und Tempel (1996); J. Seeher, Hattuscha-Führer. Ein Tag in der hethitischen Hauptstadt (3. edition, 2006). - Wissenschaftliche Monographiereihen: Boğazköy I (1935) - VI (1984); Boğazköy-Berichte 7 (2004) and 8 (2006); Boğazköy-Hattusa. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen I (1952) - XVII (2001); Keilschrifturkunden aus Boğazköy I (1921) - LX (1990); Keilschrifttexte aus Boğazköi 1 (1916) - 58 (2008); Studien zu den Boğazköy-Texten 1 (1965) - 48 (2006); Boğazköy-Texte in Umschrift BOTUC-Projekt. - Vorberichte zu den laufenden Grabungen erscheinen jährlich im Archäologischen Anzeiger (Berlin) und in Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı (Ankara).