Turkey has a new site on the Unesco World Heritage list since yesterday, July 26: this is the archaeological site of Arslantepe, in the eastern province of Malatya, which leads to altitude 19 the Unesco assets of the country. Arslantepe, which means “Lion’s Hill”, was accepted on the provisional list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2014 and today the listing has become official.
Arslantepe represents a “exceptional testimony of the first rise of state society in the Near East ”. In other words, the archaeological site of 4 hectares (40,000 square meters) and 30 meters high shows the fundamental changes in the process of state formation in Eastern Anatolian and Mesopotamian societies ”. The site is also a source of new developments in monumental architecture, in technology and the arts, as well as administrative and political improvements during the 4th millennium BC The mound served as a settlement from the Chalcolithic period to the 11th century AD It was used as a Roman village during the 5th and 6th centuries AD and later served as a Byzantine necropolis. It houses various exhibits relating to the birth of a state system and the transition from an egalitarian to a hierarchical social structure.
The first excavations were carried out by a French team led by Louis Delaporte in 1931. Since 1961 the Italian Archaeological Mission in Eastern Anatolia has conducted systematic excavation campaigns first under the joint guidance of Prof. Meriggi (University of Pavia) and Prof. Salvatore Maria Puglisi (Sapienza University of Rome), then only by the latter, then by Prof. Alba Palmieri (Sapienza University of Rome) and since 1990 by Prof. Marcella Frangipane (Sapienza University of Rome). The conservation works of the site are continuing under the control of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums of Turkey of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and in coordination with the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism of Malatya and the University of Battalgazi.