• Tufan Akbay

Aramaic inscriptions will unravel the mystery of ancient city in Eastern Turkey

It is expected that important information about the historical remains will be obtained from the 4 inscriptions written in Aramaic, which were unearthed in the ruins of the ancient city with a grid plan in the province of Van in eastern Turkey.

With the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, excavations are being carried out in the ruins of the historical city with a grid plan, which draws attention with its length of approximately 2.5 kilometers and width of 1.5 kilometers in Erciş district.

In the studies carried out under the direction of Van Museum Director Erol Uslu and under the scientific consultancy of Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, Faculty of Letters, Archeology Department Head Prof Dr Rafet Çavuşoğlu, 4 inscriptions that are considered to belong to the Parthian Empire were found.

It is aimed to obtain important information about the mysterious structure of the city, which is thought to be the first example of the modern mass housing concept in Eastern Anatolia, with the solution of the Aramaic written inscriptions under protection.

"We saw the first use of Aramaic fonts in this ancient city"

Uslu told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they resumed the rescue excavation work, which was suspended last year.

Stating that the unearthed artifacts gave important clues about the history of the city, Uslu said that the previous destructions of the outer walls of the ancient city were removed from the rescue excavations and some of the walls were unearthed.

Noting that there is no area to point to a door in front of the eastern wall, Uslu gave the following information:

"Four inscriptions with Aramaic inscriptions carved into the body wall of the outer walls were found. Scientific studies are continuing on these inscriptions. In order to provide a clear periodical information, four inscriptions need to be analyzed and transcribed. Initial data suggest that this building belongs to the Parthian Empire period. It should be said that there are serious data and findings that the Persians and Parthians established dominance in this region after Urartu. The main purpose here is both to reveal the historical and cultural texture of this place and to bring more people here by bringing it into tourism. Apart from the ancient city of Zernaki Tepe, as an architectural remains from the Parthian Empire, no structure has been registered in the museum until today. We saw that these typefaces, which we define as Aramaic, were used for the first time in this ancient city."

"For the first time, Aramaic inscriptions were found on an architectural wall in the Eastern Anatolia Region"

Prof. Dr. Çavuşoğlu also stated that they concentrated the excavations in the northern wall section of the city and they encountered four inscriptions that they considered important here.

Stating that the expert team continues to work on the solution of the inscriptions, Çavuşoğlu said:

"They seem to be inscriptions of the Parthian Empire period, but their analysis will tell us much clearer things. It will allow us to give a clear date with carbon analysis. Aramaic inscriptions are very important for Anatolian archeology. For the first time, Aramaic inscriptions were found on an architectural wall in the Eastern Anatolia Region. Another important point is that this place has a grid plan. When we make a rough calculation, it shows us that between 7 thousand and 14 thousand people live only on this hill. It's very important for archeology."

AA / 17.09.2022