Category Archives: TURKEY

800-year-old Pueblo Indian blanket made out of 11,500 turkey feathers

800-year-old Pueblo Indian blanket made out of 11,500 turkey feathers

There are more uses for a turkey than the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast. Researchers believe the flightless fowl held a deep significance for ancient Pueblo Indians in the American Southwest, who domesticated the bird but didn’t eat it. 

Archaeologists at Washington State University examined an 800-year-old feather blanket from southeast Utah, one of the few remaining examples of its kind. They determined it took more than 11,000 turkey feathers to make the spread, likely plucked painlessly from live birds during molting periods. It would have taken between four and ten turkeys to make this single blanket, now on display at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, Utah.

‘The birds that supplied the feathers were likely being treated as individuals important to the household,’ said anthropologist Bill Lipe. ‘This reverence for turkeys and their feathers is still evident today in Pueblo dances and rituals.’

An 800-year-old blanket from Pueblo Indians in the Southwest US took more than 11,500 turkey feathers to make, according to a new report. Turkeys were an integral part of tribal life for thousands of years, and not really a food source until the 11th or 12th century

An 800-year-old blanket from Pueblo Indians in the Southwest US took more than 11,500 turkey feathers to make, according to a new report. Turkeys were an integral part of tribal life for thousands of years, and not really a food source until the 11th or 12th century.

To determine how many turkeys would have been needed for this blanket, Lipe’s team counted feathers from the pelts of wild modern-day turkeys ethically sourced from dealers in Idaho.

Such feathers were widely used to make blankets and robes by the Ancestral Pueblo people but, because they’re so fragile, few examples have survived.

‘The goal of this study was to shed new light on the production of turkey feather blankets and explore the economic and cultural aspects of raising turkeys to supply the feathers,’ said Lipe, lead author of a paper in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Protective fabrics made from animal pelts, fur, and feathers would’ve been needed as tribes ventured into higher, colder elevations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Feathers from modern-day turkeys used to help determine how many would have been needed for the blanket, Researchers counted feathers from the pelts of wild turkeys ethically sourced from dealers in Idaho.

Feathers from modern-day turkeys used to help determine how many would have been needed for the blanket, Researchers counted feathers from the pelts of wild turkeys ethically sourced from dealers in Idaho.
Turkey-feather blankets were made by weaving feathers into nearly 600 feet of yucca fiber cord.

Turkey-feather blankets were made by weaving feathers into nearly 600 feet of yucca fiber cord. The ancestors of the modern-day Pueblo Indians, who include the Hopi and Zuni, tended to live at elevations above 5,000 feet, where the winters were brutal and even summer nights could be cold.

Made by women, the fabrics would have served tribespeople through various stages of life — as blankets for sleeping, cloaks in cold weather, and finally as funerary dressing.

This particular blanket measured 39 by 42.5 inches and took approximately 11,550 soft body feathers wrapped around almost 600 feet of yucca fiber cord.

Turkey feathers began replacing rabbit skin as the preferred material for twined blankets between 400 BC and 700 AD, according to Lipe. They lasted longer and plucking turkey rather than skinning hares would have allowed for an ongoing resource.

Turkeys were one of the very few domesticated animals in North America before Europeans arrived but they weren’t really used as a food source until the late 12th century when deer became more scarce.

Turkeys were one of the very few domesticated animals in North America before Europeans arrived but they weren’t really used as a food source until the late 12th century when deer became more scarce.

New feathers could be collected several times a year for the life of the turkey, which could more than a decade.

‘As ancestral Pueblo farming populations flourished, many thousands of feather blankets would likely have been in circulation at any one time,’ said Shannon Tushingham, a professor of anthropology at WSU and co-author of the study. ‘It is likely that every member of an ancestral Pueblo community, from infants to adults, possessed one.’

Surprisingly, the turkeys would have been treated more like pets or members of the family than dinner.

Turkey feathers began replacing rabbit skin as the preferred material for twined blankets about 2,000 years ago. They lasted longer and plucking turkey rather than skinning hares kept the animal alive and made them a renewable resource

Washington State University archaeologists Bill Lipe (left) and Shannon Tushingham hope understanding how Ancestral Pueblo people made turkey blankets will shine a light on the animal’s role in their culture

Turkey feathers began replacing rabbit skin as the preferred material for twined blankets about 2,000 years ago. They lasted longer and plucking turkey rather than skinning hares kept the animal alive and made them a renewable resource

Turkeys were one of the very few domesticated animals in North America before Europeans arrived but they weren’t really used as a food source until the late 12th century when deer became more scarce.

Turkey remains found among the ancient Pueblo were usually whole skeletons that had been intentionally buried, not scattered bones in hearths or trash heaps. That indicates a ritual or cultural significance for the birds, Lipe believes. 

‘They are right up there with eagle feathers as being symbolically and culturally important,’ he said.

A 2,100-year-old statue of Cybele the Anatolian mother goddess unearthed in northwestern Turkey

A 2,100-year-old statue of Cybele the Anatolian mother goddess unearthed in northwestern Turkey

An approximate 2,100-year old Cybele’s rare marble statue, Anatolia’s mother goddess, has been discovered in excavations on the Black Sea coast of Northern Ordu province.

The historic sculpture of Cybele sitting on her throne weighed a whopping 200 kilograms and was about 110 centimetres tall.

The statue is also the first marble statue found in Turkey in its original place.

The ancient artefact was unearthed in excavations launched by a team of 25 archaeologists led by the head of the Department of Archeology in Gazi University, Prof. Dr Süleyman Yücel Şenyurt, in the 2,300-year-old Kurul Kalesi, or the Council Fortress.

“We are continuing our work non-stop. Two days ago we found an extraordinary artefact.

According to our research, the statue remained intact after the walls of the entrance of the fortress of Kurul collapsed during an invasion by Roman soldiers.

This statue has also shown us that the fortress of Kurul in Ordu was a very important settlement [in ancient times],” Prof. Şenyurt said.

Saying that it was an incredibly rare find, the professor said that they were proud to unearth such an artefact in Turkey. He also said that the priceless statue would be later on transferred to the archaeology museum in Ordu.

The professor also said that the first attempts to conduct excavations in the area were made ​​about 6 years ago, but had been postponed for various reasons.

Meanwhile, Mayor Enver Yılmaz also pledged to provide TL 500,000 in funds to all excavations in the fortress of Kurul.

He also said that the fortress will be turned into an open-air museum in the near future and hopes the excavations will contribute to tourism in the region as well as in Turkey.

The excavations in the fortress are also the first archaeological diggings on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

Cybele, an Anatolian mother goddess, is the symbol of prosperity with her pregnant belly, seated on her throne.

In Anatolian mythology, she was the personification of the earth. In Greek mythology in which she was equated to Earth-goddess Gaia, Cybele was mostly associated with fertile nature, mountains, town and city walls, as well as wild animals such as lions.

Ancient goddess statue unearthed in central Turkey

Ancient goddess statue unearthed in central Turkey

In central Anatolia, at the site of Kültepe, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kanesh, several goddess statues have been found, Yeni Şafak reports.

Fikri Kulakoğlu of Ankara University said that the largest of the 4,200-year-old statues unearthed this excavation season stands about 17 inches tall.

“We are happy to have found a 45-centimetre-high [17 inches] artefact, a statue. This is a very special piece,” Fikri Kulakoglu, a professor from the Ankara University and head of the excavation team, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

Kultepe, which was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kanesh, is 20 kilometres from the central Kayseri province. It was accepted in the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage in 2014.

Kulakoglu said the goddess statue is being cleaned of dust to be displayed in a museum.

“This artefact is around 4,200 years old,” he said, adding that all of the statues, statuettes, idols found in Kultepe are women figurines.

“No idols of men have been found so far… the women statues are naked and have a decorated throne, and there are braids on their back,” he said.

Highlighting that the finding is unique, he said: “It is a very special piece for us… it is one of the most precious works showing religious beliefs of this region, of Kultepe.”

The professor said they found around 20 new artefacts during this year’s excavations, all of which are of great importance.

This year’s work was being carried out with a limited number of people due to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

‘Mona Lisa of ancient age’ found in Southern Turkey

‘Mona Lisa of ancient age’ found in Southern Turkey

According to a report in the Hurriyet Daily News, a floor mosaic featuring a woman’s portrait has been unearthed in the southern province of Osmaniye’s Kadirli district, turkey.

By a team of researchers led by Ümit Kayişoğlu of the Osmaniye Museum Directorate.

He said that the woman’s pose resembles that of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa of the ancient age,“ attracts attention with its stance, look and similarity to the world-famous Mona Lisa painting.

‘Mona Lisa of ancient age’ found in Southern Turkey
A mosaic area unearthed during the excavations conducted by the Osmaniye Museum Directorate in the southern province of Osmaniye’s Kadirli district has proved a rival to the ancient city of Zeugma with its awe-striking features.

The mosaic area is believed to have once decorated the floor of a villa between the first and the second centuries, and the female figure is thought to have been the owner of the villa.

“We can call this mosaic the Mona Lisa of Kadirli,” said archaeologist Ümit Kayışoğlu.

“This mosaic area is the only known mosaic area with human figures in Osmaniye. This is the remains of a villa built in the first and second centuries A.D.”

Stating that they have been carrying out devoted work in the mosaic area since 2015, he said, “As the Osmaniye Museum Directorate, we started many excavations when the ruins of the ancient city of Flaviapolis on which the Kadirli district was founded were declared a third-degree site in 2015.”

Describing the mosaics found, he said: “There are four different types of mosaics here.

There is a lady in the middle of one of the mosaics, and we call this person Kadirli’s Mona Lisa. Because her look and stance are reminiscent of the original one.”

A Mysterious 3,000-Year-Old Castle Has Been Found Under a Lake in Turkey

A Mysterious 3,000-Year-Old Castle Has Been Found Under a Lake in Turkey

A story describing the ruins of an ancient castle buried underneath the picturesque waters of Lake Van, Turkey, has been proclaimed entirely real.

The preserved ruins of a castle dating back more than 3,000 years to the Iron Age under the civilisation of Urartu have been found by archaeologists from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.

Tahsin Ceylan, head of the dive team, told the Turkish Daily Saba that “There was a report that there was something under the water but most archaeologists and museum officials told us that we’re not going to find it.” Instead, Ceylan and his team ended up uncovering a massive fortress spanning a kilometre over the lakebed.

A Mysterious 3,000-Year-Old Castle Has Been Found Under a Lake in Turkey
The 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortification have been discovered at the bottom of Turkey’s largest lake. Divers exploring Lake Van discovered the incredibly well-preserved wall of a castle, thought to have been built by the Urartu civilization

“Since the water of Lake Van is alkaline, the castle has not been damaged and has kept its characteristics underwater,” Ceyland added to the Hurriyet Daily News, referencing Van’s distinction as the largest sodium lake in the world.

“We have detected the castle’s exact location and photographed it and have made progress in our research. We now believe we have discovered a new area for archaeologists and historians to study.”

As shown in the video below, the fortress appears remarkably well preserved, with mortared rocks giving way to perfectly cut, smooth stone walls.

Visible sections span some 9 to 14 feet, with much of the rest buried under sediment.

A boon to archaeology and tourism

Lake Van has been subjected to dramatic rises and falls in water levels throughout much of its history.

During the Ice Age, the lake was more than 200 feet above its present level, while some 9,500 years ago it was nearly 1,000 feet lower.

Because the lake has no outlet, it is rich in sediment, with some layers estimated to be more than 1,300 feet.

This makes it extremely interesting to climate scientists, who estimate these sediments may contain the preserved climate history of the last 800,000 years.

According to Ceyland, the discovery of the submerged castle is not only a boon to the archaeological community, but also for tourists interested in learning more about the region’s rich history.

“Many civilizations and people had settled around Lake Van,” he said. “They named the lake the ‘upper sea’ and believed it had many mysterious things. With this belief in mind, we are working to reveal the lake’s ‘secrets.”

Early Christian Church Unearthed in Turkey

Early Christian Church Unearthed in Turkey

A building featuring 20 columned corridors arranged around a courtyard has been discovered next to a theatre in southwestern Turkey’s ancient city of Laodicea, according to a Hurriyet Daily News report. Celal Şimşek of Pamukkale University said the structure was used as a home, as a place of business, and as a Christian church.

In Laodicea, the largest ancient city in Anatolia after Ephesus, excavations have been ongoing for a year. So far, a church, theatre and two streets called Syria and Stadium with their columns have been revived.

Besides, many important structures such as the 1,750-year-old travertine blocks with frescoes, which were destroyed in the earthquake that occurred in 494 A.D., a three-meter-long statue of the 1,906-year-old Roman Emperor Marcus Ulpius Nerva Trajan and the sacred agora have also been discovered. Three graffiti engraved on a marble block, estimated to be 1,500 years old, have also been found.

In Laodicea, which was a metropolitan city in ancient times and was home to one of the seven churches mentioned in the Bible, a church was unearthed inside a house, located adjacent to the northern theatre.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Şimşek said that works have been continuing to revive the Hellenistic era’s 2,200-year-old theatre, which was found in the recent years in the west, and the peristylium (a courtyard surrounded by open columned corridors) with the church inside.

Şimşek stated that the house, which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old and built on an area of 2,000 square meters, is located in a very interesting place.

“Here, we know that the house was used as of the first century A.D. and that the main planning system of the Roman Empire period continued intact until the seventh century A.D. We obtained interesting results in our works in the house.

We saw in the house the fault lines of the earthquakes that destroyed Laodicea over the years. We are working here by protecting these fault lines.”

Şimşek explained that with the spread of Christianity, the first believers had secretly transformed some parts of this large house into a place of worship.

Noting that there are two separate architectural halls for men and women in the house, He said, “The hall in the west was organized for men and the one in the east for women and a place of worship was made here in east hall.”

“In the middle of the house, there is a hall with 18 columns. In this house, we found baths, shelters and other sections that were used as business places. The direction of the secret church in the house was facing north,” Şimşek added.

Noting that they unearthed very rich marble coverings on the walls of the eastern hall, which was converted into a church, Şimşek stated that they were able to see how believers of Christianity worshipped here.

Emphasizing that the house is very special and unique, he said, “It is the only example in the regard that this place was used as both a home and a business place and is adjacent to the theatre.”

Stating that during the excavations, they also unearthed the sacred items used by the first Christians, Şimşek said, “We think that the Laodicea Church was built after Christianity was made free, and the high-ranking clergy there probably lived in this house, but we have not yet made a clear determination regarding this.”

“This house with the church is very important in terms of reaching data on how Christianity spread in Laodicea since the middle of the first century A.D.,” he added.

Turkey: 9-century old Harran Palace’s gate unearthed

Turkey: 9-century old Harran Palace’s gate unearthed

The main gate of the nine-century-old Harran Palace in an archaeological site in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, one of the world’s oldest settlements on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, has been unearthed.

The excavation work has been continuing for six years at the site located in the Harran district of Şanlıurfa, Mehmet Önal, the head of the excavation team and head of the Archeology Department at Harran University, told the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Harran, located 44 kilometers southeast of central Şanlıurfa near the Syrian border, was an important Mesopotamian trade center on a road running south to Nineveh in modern Iraq, while the site was constantly inhabited from 6,000 B.C. to the present and had also served as the capital of the Assyrians and Umayyads.

The excavation team had worked hard for two years to reveal the main gate of the historical palace, Önal said.

“We completely unearthed one of the two known gates of the historical Harran Palace. The gate, about 7 meters high, is made of basalt stones. Star motifs were also unearthed in our excavations near the ground.”

Turkey: 9-century old Harran Palace's gate unearthed

Önal underlined that the team had also unearthed other inscriptions written in Arabic on a basalt stone, adding that these inscriptions will contribute to trace the exact date of the historic construction.

He also said that the inscriptions and symbols on the stamp seals, rings, and arrowheads found in the excavations in the palace were also being analyzed by archaeologists.

Noting that a three-domed bathhouse in the Harran Palace has been discovered during the previous excavations, Onal said the bath with cooling, warming, and heating rooms was built in the 12th and 13th century and belonged to the Zengid dynasty and the Ayyubids period.

Stating that the palace, which dates back 900 years, has hundreds of rooms, he pointed out that the Harran Palace is one of the rare examples of palaces that have survived since the Middle Ages in the Middle Eastern countries.

Önal said that the year-long extension of the excavation period given by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry well indicated the importance of this historical area.

If the excavations continue throughout the year, more historical artifacts could come to light, he added.

The first excavations in Harran began in 1950, and the site has been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2000.

Harran is an important ancient city where trade routes from Iskenderun to Antakya (ancient Antioch) and Kargam were located, according to UNESCO’s website.

“The city is mentioned in the Holy Bible,” says the website. “It is important not only for having hosted the early civilizations, but it is the place where the first Islamic university was founded. The traditional civil architecture and mudbrick houses with conic roofs are unique.”

2,000-year-old snake-figure altar unearthed in the ancient city of Patara in southern Turkey

2,000-year-old snake-figure altar unearthed in the ancient city of Patara in southern Turkey

Daily Sabah reports that a marble altar encircled with a coiled snake carved in relief has been unearthed at the ancient city of Patara in southern Turkey.

The altar, which is believed to date back more than 2,000 years, was found during excavations conducted in an area close to the Roman baths and walls. It is decorated with a snake relief that appears to be winding around the stone.

Mustafa Koçak, an academic at the Department of archaeology at Antalya Bilim University and also the vice president of the excavation team in Patara, told reporters that the discovery highlights the first of its kind in the ancient Patara site.

“We found a snake-shaped altar for the first time in Patara. Similar discoveries were made in some ancient cities in Muğla but this is the first time such a discovery has been made in Patara.

This altar depicts the relations of people in Patara with the outside world,” Koçak said.

He added that residents of the area were polytheistic in ancient times and made offerings at the altar in a bid to appease the gods of the underworld. Furthermore, the snake motif on the altar is thought to be associated with the gods.