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Iron Age


he Rock-Cut Monuments of The Regions of Burhaniye And Havran are of great importance, but not studied, before. The studies dedicated to those monuments give us the most interesting aspects and phenomenons of them. Here is a general description of the monuments.[nggallery id=20]About the archaeological heritages in the southern side of the Gulf of Adramytteion have talked famous writers of the Ancient Periods, for a long time. In the Homeros’lines, dedicated to the Heroic Age, It is also, possible to identify the names of the cities and the heros and wonderful women of this region . The archaeological heritages were prosperous, but the archaeological studies, limited. Nobody never talked about the wonderful rock-cut monuments and their cultistic functions.

A better appreciation of those archaeological heritages, was not available, for a long time. And unfortunately, a terra incognita was the Southern Side of the Gulf of Adramytteion. In spite of the studies, realized by some scholars (1), since the XIX. Century, these studies were also, limited, and have concentrated on the strictly determined localities, due to the researchers´ specific areas of interest and research .

The Project Of ´ The Pre- And Protohistoric Sites In The Regions Of Ayvalik, Gomec, Burhaniye, Edremit, And Havran In The Province Of The Balikesir ´ (2), had an aim and intends to carry out a better study of the Pre- and Protohistoric sites, along with the other archaeological datas, for a better understanding and scholarly appreciation of the archaeology and archaeological heritages.

The highland localities especially, have not studied better before, although they have been mentioned sometime. However, the highlands were of great importance to work on the Cultistic life. And naturally, it was possible to encounter with the rock-cut monuments, as cultistic places. In accordance with the sherds, all of which have been gathered from the fields, related and/or neighboring to the monuments, it appears that the rock-cut monuments were used, for a long time, from the Early Iron Age up to the Roman, and even, Early Byzantine Periods.

In the Region of Havran, the Caves of Inönü and the neighboring Büyük and Küçük Çal Tepe ( Great and Little Chal Hills ) were visited by the scholars who have talked about the existence of the rock-cut monuments, and the sherds of the different periods. Due to construction of a dam, it is so dangerous to study in these caves . According to the different datas gathered from the field, the caves give possibility to identify the presence of the materials of the Prehistoric and Protohistoric and the Classical and Hellenistic and Roman Periods. A knowledge of a fragment of a stone Idol, along with the other cultistic objects, which have been found, inside of the caves, may be an evidence for the cultistic activities. In the summer 2002, an expedition has realized by the author to the neighboring conical ( Küçük Cal ) hill, called Sivga. And of course, this hill showed a long duration of settlements, from the Early Iron Age up to the Roman Period, as a castle or highly defended settlement. And of course, on the hill-top and its north-western side exist the rock-cut formations, as the cultistics or not.

A rock-cut monument of great interest, is on the northern bank of the Stream of Kocaomer to the northwest of the Village of Karalar, in the Region of Havran.. The monument is on a vast space of rock formations. The Native People call it ‘ Merdivenli Kayalar ( The Rocks of The Stairs )’. The specific formations of the complex that stretches out on the rocky hill-sides, gives us the possibility to identify it, as a sacred place. There are some rectangular basins of the presses to produce the vine. The vineyards ( as an important element of the Dionysos Cults ) might be extensive and of importance in the Ancient times, as well as the present.

On top of the higher rock formation to the South, it is identificable a rock-cut altar, which faces towards the North – Northeast. Behind of the rock formations, to the north, there are traces of the walls, and also, the pits and small elevations, in which contain the slags of mine and also, the sherds of the Roman Period. It was also, possible to identify some Early Iron Age and/or Earlier sherds on the neighboring Alapinar Tepe. In the neighboring localities of the Village of Karalar, there are also, other archaeological heritages of greatest interest (3).

Another wonderful rock-cut monument is Sulutaş ( The Watery Stone ) or Ulutaş ( The Great Stone ), which is a high rockous mountain, near the Village of Cakirdere, in the Region of Havran . The Sulutas is an unique and different majestic example of the rock-cut monuments. It is difficult to find a similar splendid monument, in this region and the neighbors. This high conic and rockous hill appears as a natural example of the Hieron Oros on the plains of the high plateau. On the top of the hill, which have been planed and made level, there are different platforms and altars and a small cultistic cave and also, three ritualistic pits or basins which have been excavated in the lower platform. For the present, it is so difficult to arrive this ritualistic space, cut and created on the high rockous hill-top. However, it is possible to identify the traces of the rock-cut stairs, along with the different platforms, on the hill-side. And the section of rock-cut entrance and the rock-cut stairs of the entrance ( which descend onto the lower lateral platform ) are in a best conditions yet.

Another group of the rock-cut monuments is near the Village of Dutluca, in the Region of Burhaniye, and not far from Cakirdere and Karalar. These villages have some accesses to reach to another, by means of the mountain and forest roads on the hills and in the valleys. These roads may be used in the ancient times.

Near the Village of Dutluca, two localities of the rock-cut monuments, exist, as ‘Delik Tas ( The Rock Of Hole )’ and ‘ Merdivenli Kayalar (The Rocks Of Stair)’. The first monument has a natural, but then, planed arch and large hole,that faces towards the northeast, along the cup marks on the lateral sides. According to the native villagers, ‘The Delik Tas ‘has a cultistic function, related to the Women and the Fertility, and a specific function in using to determine the gender of the babies that will be born. It is of great importance to find the living and vigorous traces of the ancient beliefs and cults, related to MAGNA MATER or ‘ The Great Mother Goddess ‘ who has been identified under a representation of Rock and/or Mountain .

The second rock-cut monument of Dutluca , ‘ Merdivenli Kaya ‘is at the northern side of the village road. forThe Merdivenli Kaya comprises of the voluminous rocks, on which exist the rock-cut building sections and the stairs and canals and pits, along with some cup marks.

Another rock-cut monument, either castle or cult complex, called as Fugla Tepe is on the rocky hill-top of the peak of Fugla, to the Southwest of the village of Borezli, in the region of Burhaniye. This monument comprises the natural rock corps, and also, the building materials and blocks, all of which have been carved regularly, and constructed on the hill. There are also, two basins, excavated into the hill-top planes. And at the Southern side, it is possible to find the building materials, as regularly carved blocks of stone. However, it is of great importance to identify a specific formation, like to an altar, at the northern side. On the walls of rock( to the north of the monument ), which face towards to the coastal localities on the southeastern parts of the Gulf of Adramytteion, exists a large and high cavity, destroyed by the illegal diggers fortification. The sherds show a long time of occupation, from the Early Iron Age up to the Roman Period and the Medieval Age.

An hill-top site of great interest is on the peak, near the village of Hissarkoy( The Village of Castle ), in the Region of Burhaniye. On a plain of summit, there are remains of a rock-cut cult monument along with the remains of the walls and three bastions of a Byzantinean period castle. This rock-cut monument likes to the Iron Age sanctuaries of the Southeastern Europe and the Central Anatolia, with the altars, directed towards the west, and the stairs and the platforms, all of which have been carved on a vast and voluminous natural rock formation. In this point it is of great interest to identify a round basin or well, carved into the rock, and repaired by the Byzantine walls of bricks and mortars, next to the rock-cut monument, to the north. And naturally, it is possible to encounter with the Iron Age sherds, although they are limited, on the site. This monument of great interest might be used as a sacred place at first, and then, replaced by a castle in the Medieval Age.

A most interesting archaeological center is in the environments of the Village of Bahadinli, in the Region of Burhaniye. This old Village is in a Valley, hidden by the hills, behind the outer hills, and between the Hisarkoy and the Villages of Kizikli and Borezli. In the environments of Bahadinli, there are a great many of the archaeological sites, either necropolis or settlements, along with the Cult Complexes indeed. The sherds, related to the Roman Period are abundant on the fields. And it is also, no difficult to find the sherds from the Early Iron Age, in spite of their rarities. The presence of an important Roman Settlement is evident, in this valley. However, the rock-cut monuments of great interest are The Dede Kaya ( The Grandfather Rock ) and InKaya ( The Den Rock ) to the South and the southeast of the Village of Bahadinli.

The Dede Kaya, composed of the vast and voluminous rock corps, is a Rock-Cut Cult Complex on the rocky terraces, near the Stream of Karinca. The main center is a high and voluminous rock formation, on which contains the stairs and a large rectangular basin and the altars and the platforms. Another rectangular pit is also, under a cavity related to the main rock formation. All the stairs, altars, platforms, along with the basin and pit, have carved on the natural rock formation. And the altars are on two different platforms, on the summit of the main rock formation. The first group of the altars are on the southeastern platform, which is higher than the other, and face toward the west . And the second group is next and related to a large and deep rectangular basin, on the northwestern platform. Both platforms contain the other trenches and canals and pits, along with the altars. The second group of altar faces towards the North. Another large and deep basin, builded with the rectangular stones, exists on the plain, next to the main rock formation, on which contains all the ritualistic elements of the cult complex. Along with the main rock formation, there are other rock corps and the plains, all of which have the cultistic and ritualistic functions, on a vast space. A spring is also identificable, beneath of the rock corps and inside of the stream, in the summer times.

The so-called Inkaya ( The Den Rock ) faces towards to the Dedekaya, on the other side of the Stream of Karinca . Inkaya is a typical cultistic cave in which contains an entrance hall and two coridors. On the right side wall of entrance it is possible to identify a cultistic nich and basin, and also, a long bench throughout the entrance hall. The cave is highly desolated by the illegal diggers regrettably. It appears that Inkaya and Dedekaya were cultisticaly related to another.

The Harman Kaya ( The Rock of Threshing ) Cult Cave is another interesting cultistic monument, near the village of Pelitkoy, in the Region of Burhaniye. The cave is situated under the great rock corps, which are on the rockous hill-top, called Harman Kaya, The entrance of the cave looks forwards to the Village of Pelitkoy. During the survey, created by the author, in the cavity, it was possible for himself to identify the sherds, which seem to be raleted to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages. And also, a great many of the sherds, related to the Hellenistic and Roman Periods was identificable, on the fields, all around the cavity. Due to the fillings of the earth and stones, a limited space of the cavity was favorable to study in. On the Harman Kaya, the cavity is evident. The rockous summit of the peak might be used as for the altar as well.

In this point, it is also, of importance to identify the Ev Kaya ( The House-rock )a splendid rock-cut cultistic monument of great interest, near the Village of Gecmis, in the Region of Ivrindi, neighboring to the Region of Havran, in the Province Of Balikesir (4). This complex of rock-cut monuments is far from the settlements, and near a stream and a magistic hill ( on which contains the interesting rock-cut formations are identificable ) too. The complex takes form of the different parts, created by the humans on the rocks, such as a cult cave, the altars, etc.. Owing to the rock-cut formation of the oriental wall of the cult cave, it is evident that it is a Christian monument and was also, used by the Christians, as a Chapell, after the Pagan Period. All over the rock corps, in which contain the parts of this monument, there are different basins and engravings and canals, along with the altars.

The ultimate studies brings the existence of the other similar rock-cut monuments in the other regions of the Province of Balikesir into the scholars view as well. One of them is especially, of great interest for the transformations and transitions between the Pagan and the Early Christian Periods. (5)

The relations between the monuments and the streams are evident and connected with the Cult Of the Great Goddess indeed. The existance of the Christianity, after the Pagan Period is also clear. However, they were not used by the Christians for a proper Christian Identity and Utility, but as for the sacred Shrines, related to the different aims and activities, influenced by the Ancient Cults. According to the folkloric and historical lore, the ancient cults and/or a local christianity, influenced by the Pagan Ones, were in activity, for a long time, in the region. However, the traces of the Pagan Period, are also, identificable, in the some Christian and even, Muslim ceremonies and rituals, realized by the native peoples of the Aegean islands and territories. The rituals, related to Hieron Gamos ( Hierogamy ), are especially, of great interest to understand the function of the rock-cut monuments, indeed.

These rock-cut cultistic monuments show the similarities to the Southeastern and Central European and the Central and Western Anatolian Iron Age Cult Complexes. The acted cults can be identified with those related to the Great Goddess certainly. The Cult of Serapis might be acted someway, too. The Mysterian cults were of great importance in these regions certainly, for a long time . In another article, it will be studied the relations between the rock-cut cultistic monuments and the different cultistic activities, dedicated to the Great God and Goddess.


1) Allen, S.H. 1990; Bittel,K.1950; Driehaus, J. 1957; French, D.H. 1968,1969; Judaich, W. 1898; Kökten, K. 1949; Lambrianides,K. – Spencer, N. 1996a and b, 1997a,b,c; Mellart, J. 1956; Ozdogan, M 1984, 1989,1993;
Stauber,J. 1996 a,b; Wiegand, T. 1904.

2) Beksac,E. 1999, 2000,2001, 2002( in press ).The Team of The Project was composed of Dr. Engin Beksac ( Head ) and Mr. Gokhan Igdir, Mr. Nihat Murat Guven, and Dr. Tayfun Akkaya .Besides, the kind assistances of Mr. Huseyin Guven and Mrs. Huseyin and Mehmet Igdir were also, of great importance.

3) There are a great many of the archaeological heritages in the environs of the Village of Karalar. A most intersting example is on the rocky slops that in a narrow valley, faces towards the stream of Hortac , to the west of the village. This is a graffiti or an inscription, related to the earlier periods, and has carved on a round rock, near the helix of the stream.

4) During the Adramytteion Excavation Program, in the Summer 2001, this monument has been visited and identified by the author, with an official invitation, created by the Directorate of the Museum of Balikesir, for an expertice .

5) The datas have gathered by the author and his team, along with the Directoress of the Museum of Balikesir, due to her request and oficial invitation to assist about those rock-cut monuments, in the summer 2002. They will be published in another work.




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