Excavations uncover 350,000-year-old artifacts in Türkiye's Mardin

08-07-2024 01:21 PM

Ammon News - During archaeological excavations at Uluköy Cave in Gurs Valley, located in Türkiye's Kızıltepe district of Mardin, artifacts dating back 350,000 years were discovered. This cave, situated amid historical ruins such as stone houses and structures from various periods, completed its second season of rescue excavations under the guidance of the Mardin Museum Directorate.

Led by Eşref Erbil from Mardin Artuklu University's Department of Archaeology, this year's excavation reached a depth of approximately 4 meters into an archaeological fill within the 23-meter-long (75.46-feet-long), 16-meter-deep cave.

The team, including associate professor Ergül Kodaş, Çağdaş Erdem, Birkan Gülseven, Bahattin Ipek, Mehmet Şan and volunteer students, uncovered tools and animal bone remains spanning from the Lower Paleolithic to the Middle Paleolithic Period. These discoveries are now being meticulously analyzed at the restoration and conservation laboratory established at the Mardin Museum.

Cave is 350,000 years old
Eşref Erbil, the scientific adviser for the excavation, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the Uluköy Cave in the Gurs Valley was discovered two years ago during surface research led by associate professor Ergül Kodaş.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and directed by the Mardin Museum Directorate, they have conducted rescue excavations for two seasons. This year, they have uncovered approximately 4 meters of archaeological deposits.

They have found artifacts spanning the Epipaleolithic, Upper Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic and Lower Paleolithic periods, indicating a rich history. The excavation area in the 23-meter-long, 16-meter-deep cave covers 5 square meters. Erbil highlighted urgent preservation needs due to significant destruction just above this area, stressing the importance of promptly securing the archaeological data.

Bone types will be investigated

Erbil emphasized the ongoing systematic excavations spanning two periods in Uluköy Cave, aiming to gather accurate data swiftly amid extensive destruction. "Through targeted drilling, we reached the bedrock, revealing the entire cultural sequence of the cave," he noted.

Discoveries include chipped stones, weapons fashioned from these stones, scrapers and animal bone remains, predominantly from herbivores. Experts will soon identify the animal species through upcoming studies. Techno-typologically, these findings date back approximately 350,000 years.

Erbil highlighted Uluköy Cave's significance as the sole site in northern Mesopotamia under excavation, yielding critical insights into regional history. "While earlier surface surveys hinted at Paleolithic Age evidence, stratified archaeological fillings are pivotal. Our dating efforts will deepen our understanding of early human hunter-gatherer activities," he added.

Ayhan Gök, provincial director of Culture and Tourism, commended the meticulous excavation conducted under the Mardin Museum Directorate's guidance, emphasizing its singular status in the city. "Integrating with Gurs Valley, a frequented area by locals, this site holds potential as a new cultural destination with its artifacts," Gök remarked.

Daily Sabah

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