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900 m
Eastern Anatolia
Asagi Içme
Investigation Method:
Early Middle Late


Location: It was located next to the Asagi Içme Village; 30 km east of the Elazig Province [van Loon 1987a:pl.1]. It is coded under 0 55/1.
Geography and Environment: It was one of the biggest mounds of the Altinova Plain. It measured 16 m in height and 190 m in diameter before flooded by the Keban Dam. It is referred to as Asagi Içme in some publications [Meriggi 1967:280].
Research and Excavation: It was discovered by C.A. Burney under the name of Asagi Içme; and attracted the attention of researchers conducting survey or exploring the region since it was near the former Elazig-Bingöl motorway. Then revisited by R. Whallon and S. Kantman; and a surface collecting is conducted; as a part of the salvage project for the sites that were going to be inundated by Keban Dam. In 1968-70; the mound was excavated by teams from Chicago Oriental Institute; University of California; and University of Amsterdam conducted jointly by M.N. van Loon and H.G. Güterbock [van Loon 1971:47]. During the excavation carried out under N.N. van Loon; virgin soil was reached at 20 m depth from the summit of the mound. It is then excavated again in 1973-75 by H. Ertem from Ankara University; Language and History Geography Faculty; Hititology Department for investigating the Hittite levels [Ertem 1979:33].
Stratigraphy: 12 levels of continious settlement from Early Chalcolithic to Seljukian Period are recovered; which are labeled from below as follows: Phase A: Early Chalcolithic Phase B: Late Chalcolithic Phase C: Early Bronze Age I-II A Phase D: Early Bronze Age II B Phase E: Early Bronze Age III A Phase F: Early Bronze Age III B Phase G: Middle Bronze Age I Phase H: Middle Bronze Age II Phase I: Late Bronze Age I Phase J: Late Bronze Age II Phase K: Early Iron Age Phase L: Medieval Ages [van Loon 1978:6; table 1]. Virgin soil is reached 20 m below the top of the mound.
Small Finds: Architecture: Early Chalcolithic: The Phase A of the Early Chalcolithic; is represented by occupation levels from I to XXIX. First architectural remains start above the red and black ash layers labeled as Levels I-III. In Levels IV-V; remains are of two mudbrick walls plastered in yellow and a room; the floor of which was renewed twice. It is observed that wood has been used both vertically and horizontally as support. The succeeding layer is a 2 m thick pool like deposit of water and plants (Levels VI-XIII). Sherds similar to Ubaid wares start to come from the level right above this deposit. Two hearths; one of which is plastered in yellow; are recovered from the Level XIV and a gray colored clay platform is found in Level XV; above one of the hearths. A mudbrick house from Levels XVI-XXI has used the platform of XV as a foundation. The wattle-and-daub roof of this house is recovered collapsed on its floor. A pig jaw is found in a white-plastered pit below the door sill of another mudbrick house from the same level. The excavators express a cultural continuity depending on a similar foundation deposit in the Late Chalcolithic levels. The 3 m thick Levels XXII-XXIX of the Early Chalcolithic Age are not excavated. Late Chalcolithic: In the Late Chalcolithic Age settlement of Korucutepe (Levels XXX-XXXI); a burnt house with two rooms is recovered at the northwestern skirts of the mound. The conflagrated larger 3 x 6 m room; has a narrow door and a central hearth. The other; adjacent room with a plastered hearth measures 2 x 1.5 m. Architectural remains are also recovered in the 1.5 m thick deposit of Levels XXX-XXXVI. One of these is a mudbrick house with hearths paved with pebbles and potsherds; in and outside of the house. Two other hearths are recovered in the plastered; gray mudbrick houses of Levels XXXIV-XXXV. One of these hearths is encircled by one row of stones and numerous sherds and clay stands are found around the hearths. The remains in Level XXXVI yield no significant plan and the two well-preserved walls of one building recovered in the southeastern corner of the same area yield no information about the function of the building [van Loon 1987:7-10; van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:79]. Pottery: The Early Chalcolithic wares of Korucutepe are hand-made; coarse or fine grit-tempered; chaff-faced; and burnished. 81 % are black or brown burnished. The dominant forms are conical; deep and shallow bowls which are decorated with knobs and string-like band reliefs with finger impressions. Other than this ware; two kinds of painted wares are existent in small amount; one resembles the Halaf Painted Ware in technique and decoration and the other sand or fine white grit-tempered group resembles the Ubaid Ware. These two are probably imported. They are decorated in red or brown geometric figures like wavy; parallel or intersecting lines. Very few polichrome examples are also recovered [van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:79; van Loon 1978:7; Brandt 1978a:57-58]. The dominant Late Chalcolithic group; 30 % of the assemblage; consists of chaff-faced and chaff-tempered wares which are crème or buff slipped. The dominant forms are jars with flaring or low vertical necks and bowls with outturning; bead or bevelled rims. Burnishing is observed especially in cups. The second group is high chaff and sometimes coarse grit-tempered; non-burnished ware which consists of large vessels. In the latter half of the Late Chalcolithic Age different wares grow abundant: the interiorly and exteriorly scraped wares; a special kind of burnished ware applied mostly to bowls; and a non-burnished ware consisting of S-profile bowls. Painting is in geometric motifs but is rare and examples of incised or impressed wares are very few [Brandt 1978a:58-59; van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:79]. Clay: Besıdes the animal figurines and spindle whorls recovered in the Early Chalcolithic Age levels; animal figurines are found while levelling the sections of the unexcavated Levels XXII-XXIX [van Loon 1978:7-8]. The unbaked clay finds of the Late Chalcolithic levels consist of horn-shaped stands decorated with finger-impressions [Brandt 1978b:63; van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:79]. Chipped Stone: Chipped stone finds include retouched obsidian blades; used as sickles and points; from Early Chalcolithic levels and obsidian leaf-shaped arrowheads recovered from the profiles of the unexcavated Levels XXII-XXIX [van Loon 1978:7-8]. Ground Stone: All hand-axes recovered from the Early Chalcolithic Age deposit are made of andesite. The Late Chalcolithic Age ground stone finds are three stones; two of which are pierced; that are interpreted as weights [van Loon 1978:8; Brandt 1978b:63]. Born/Antler: Two awls are recovered from Early Chalcolithic Age levels [Brandt 1978b:63]. Metal: A spiral piece of copper is found on the floor of a Late Chalcolithic structure. The copper ingots found close to the burial area on the northwest of the mound hint about the copper work in the environs. Other efficient source of information about the metallurgy of the Late Chalcolithic settlement at Korucutepe are the silver bracelets; rings; hair-ornaments; beads; pins etc. that were laid as burial gifts [van Loon 1978:9; Brandt 1978b:61-62]. Human Remains: Two of the excavated Late Chalcolithic graves are rectangular mud-brick constructions. Wooden remains show that they were covered with wood. One of the skeletons belong to a child; three are adults; and the other is a double burial. The child burial Ğa pithos- contains no gifts. However; the woman is buried with a belt; bracelets; anklets; a diadem; a necklace; hair-rings and the man with a mace head; bracelets; and a dagger. Such finds make it clear that the northwest corner of the mound was used as a cemetery towards the end of the Late Chalcolithic Age [van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:80; van Loon 1978:10-11; table 3]. Fauna: The only faunal remain from the Late Chalcolithic is a pig jaw recovered in a plastered pit below the door sill of a mud-brick building [Boesneck-van der Driesch 1975:97]. Flora: It is concluded that two types of wheat (Tiritcum dicoccum and Tiriticum aestrium/durum);two types of barley; lentil (Lens culinaris); vetch (Vicia ervilia); and peas were being cultivated and grape; pistachio nut; and mountain ash were being gathered in the Chalcolithic Age. Analysis on the flax seeds hint the existence of irrigation. The wooden remains are of ash (Fraxinus); elm (Ulmus); poplar (Populus); and oak (Quercus) which were present around the site in the Chalcolithic era [van Zeist-Bakker-Heeres 1975:227-228; van Loon-Güterbock 1972a:80].
Interpretation and Dating: The ceramic analogies show that the sites similar to Chalcolithic settlement of Korucutepe are the closeby settlements of Tepecik; Tülintepe; Habusu Körtepe; Çayboyu; and Kurupinar; in and around Altinova Region. Other similarities may be drawn between the Early Chalcolithic coarse burnished and gray burnished wares and Tarsus; the forms in coarse plain ware and Dark Faced Burnished Ware and Amuq A and B phases. Korucutepe Early Chalcolithic finds are dated to Amuq D phase; to 4500-4000 BC; depending on the Halafian and Ubaid acquinted pottery finds and a 14C sample (4259 BC) recovered from Phase A [van Loon 1978:8; table 2]. Post-Early Chalcolithic settlements without any hiatus yield cultural continuity especially through most ware groups occuring well into the Last Chalcolithic. Relative chronology sets 3500-3000 BC for Korucutepe Late Chalcolithic and 14C samples yield dates as 3420+/-40 BC; 3380+/-40 BC; 3195+/-75 BC [Brandt 1978a:57; 59-60; van Loon 1978:8; table 2].

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