Harput relief changes region's history

AA photo

Examinations on a relief that was discovered by chance in the eastern province of Elazığ's Harput district have revealed that the artwork dates back 4,000 years ago - indicating that the region's history dates back a full 1,000 years more than originally believed.

"Until now, the known history of Harput went back to the Urartians. However, with this relief, the history of Harput seems to have gone back about a thousand years," said archaeologist Bülent Demir of the Elazığ Archaeology and Ethnography Museum.

İshak Yurter, the operator of an excavator, found the relief on May 3, 2016, while planting saplings in the Nevruz Forest and informed the museum directorate. The relief, which is 2.72 centimeter high and 2.25 meter wide, was found in five pieces. 

Subsequent examinations and restoration work on the relief revealed that the artifact dated from 4,000 years ago. In this way, the history of Harput, which was previously thought to have begun in 1000 B.C. has been determined to be at least 1,000 older. 

After the restoration work, the relief, which has been dubbed "Harput Relief," was put in the museum on display. 

Demir said traces of a settlement that developed in two phases before being destroyed in a big fire were also found during the excavation works in the region where the relief was found. 

Demir said they believed the five-cornered artifact was affixed to a wall. 

The main theme of the relief was the conquest of a castle, the archaeologist said, adding that scenes were shown bottom to top, depicting the spoils of war and naked slaves in front of the king. 

"In the left panel, a fight in the castle and gruesome scenes are depicted," Demir added. 

The relief's depiction of a wheeled...

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