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2,800-year-old ivory ornament unearthed in Hattusa archeological site in Türkiye

A 2,800-year-old ivory ornament has been discovered by archaeologists in northern Türkiye at the excavation site of Hattusa, the capital of the Hittites, one of the most ancient Anatolian civilizations

The archaeological excavations in the present-day Bogazkale district of Corum province started in 1906 and have been led by Andreas Schachner on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute since 2006.

In the 117th year of the excavations, a piece of art that can provide insight into Iron Age art was unearthed on the northwest-facing slope of the Great Fortress area of the ancient city.

The piece, nearly 30 centimeters (1 foot) in length and 10 cm in width, features a sphinx, a lion, and two trees of life etched on an ivory surface.

Speaking to Anadolu, excavation chief Schachner said the artifact was found in the Iron Age layer of the Hattusa dig site, which contains traces of many civilizations.

“Most likely, in its own period, it was added as a decoration to a wooden box or a piece of furniture made of wood. The work is broken on its right and left sides, but the upper and lower sides are intact. So, it can be inferred that it was actually longer,” Schachner said.

“This work is a unique piece for Bogazkoy. For the first time, we are facing a work adorned with such an intense and beautifully crafted scene. Extensive excavations have been carried out in Bogazkoy for the Iron Age, but a work with such detail has not been encountered before,” he said.

The artifact shines a light on artistic relationships in Bogazkoy in this era, extending towards southeastern Anatolia, as well in the southwestern direction, and Greece, according to Schachner.