©The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project

Nevali Çori

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Nevali Çori
490 m
Southeastern Anatolia
Investigation Method:


Location: This site lies north of the city of Sanliurfa; west of the town of Hilvan; approximately 750 m northwest of the village of Gülusagi; between Kantara and the Süleymanbey neighborhood.
Geography and Environment: The name of the site has appeared differently in a number of publications including Nevalla Çori; Nevali Çori and Novalo Çori. The site lies in two places in the area where Kantara Stream meanders west and then north; one is on the western bank of Kantara Stream; close to the dam lake and the other is on the eastern bank of this stream; at the foot of Mount Yangintepe limestone outcrop in a 90x40 m area between two dried stream beds. While looking at the old Euphrates River from the village of Kantara; the site on the east was Nevali Çori I while the site on the west was Nevali Çori II. Excavation down to virgin soil has determined that the cultural material deposition at Nevali Çori I is 2 m thick. This site was settled in many periods after the Aceramic Neolithic. This is probably due to the fact that the Kantara Valley; literally the "Valley of Illnesses"; is rich in springs. The site has been partially flooded by the dam lake; which is now receding into the Kantara Stream Valley.
Research and Excavation: The site was discovered in 1980 during the surface survey led by H.G. Gebel. Excavations were conducted between 1983-1991 under the direction of H. Hauptmann and the support of the Heidelberg and Urfa Museums. The first excavated part of the site was Nevali Çori I; east of Kantara Stream. Excavations on Nevali Çori II followed [Harmankaya et al. 1997:Nevali Çori]. It is inundated since 1992. It takes place in the registered archaeological sites list prepared by Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Stratigraphy: The most significant contribution of Nevali Çori to the Anatolian archaeology is that it yields extraordinary outcomes in architecture and finds of the Aceramic Neolithic Age settlement. The site; appearing like a settlement on a terrace or a slope settlement; houses a Roman Period settlement on the top hill. The villages of EBA; Chalcolithic Age and Neolithic Age uncovered below that level prove that the site has all the characteristics to be occupied throughout the ages.
Small Finds: Architecture: Trenchs H/J of Nevali Çori yielded architectural remains belonging to a multi-roomed building dated to the first quarter of the third millennium BC (EBA I) by the excavators. The building was sat by terracing in two constructional phases. Foundations and walls are of retouched limestones. Outer side of the wall was built by big smooth stones. A four-cornered big room and a small room adjacent to it were uncovered. The big room is 4.3 m long while the smaller one is 1.5 m. A mudbrick vessel in the big room; and a cist grave in the small room were also found. In the western part of the room; there are a bench of clay; a fire place and a circular fire place. Metal: Pits of EBA I yielded copper slags and fragment of a casting mould. Human Remains: The cist grave uncovered in the smaller room mentioned hereinabove housed a disarticulated skeleton buried in hocker position. No grave goods were found. Trench H/9 yielded two more cist graves placed in the north-south direction. Just like the other grave; disarticulated female skeletons buried in hocker position were found. As grave goods; a light-colored vessel; two red goblets; a spiral pin in bronze; a ring-like brace and a necklace made of black and white stones were left into the grave.
Interpretation and Dating: Finds dated to EBA I resemble the finds recovered from the other settlements and cemeteries of EBA I in the region [Misir 1992:202]. The area excavated is so small that it is not possible to make any interpretation about the settlement. The relation between the graves and architectural remains is still unclear.

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