POLITICAL LANDSCAPES

The archaeological landscapes of the Konya Plain are proving invaluable in our understanding of the formation, maintenance and collapse of the earliest states on the Anatolian Peninsula. One of the most compelling data sets include the network of fortified hilltops identified initially in the surveys of Hasan Bahar, with additional sites found by KRASP (figure 1). While the fortification walls are in most cases dateable to the late 1st millennium BC, many of these sites have ceramic assemblages that point to earlier use and occupation during the Iron and Bronze Ages. Indeed a few may have been first constructed in the late 3rd millennium BC. This defensive network strongly suggests a strategy to control strategic access points into the Konya Plain, hinting at a process of territorial state formation that reached a mature stage already in the early 2nd millennium BC.

In the 2018 field season we initiated a program of digital architectural recording of Kane Kalesi. This site, built on the peak of a volcanic hillock, is the largest fortified hilltop in our survey area and is located at a major north-south passage into the Konya Plain (the modern Konya-Aksaray motorway). A preliminary plan of the site created with a total station (figure 2) shows a defensive wall with at least two phases of reuse, as well as an extensive settlement around the lower slopes that may have served as a garrison. A preliminary study of the pottery collected from the 2018 field season shows that the hilltop was first occupied in the Middle Bronze Age 

Between the late 13th and the 9th centuries BC, the political landscapes of the Konya Plain were also defined by and negotiated with Luwian-inscribed rock monuments (figure 3). Among these are the Kızıldağ, Karadağ and Hatıp monuments, attributable to two different rulers from the Late Bronze Age kingdom of Tarhuntašša (Kurunta) and the Iron Age kingdom of Tabal (Hartapu) respectively. While debates continue on the location of these kingdoms' political boundaries, most would agree that both states would have encompassed at least parts of the Konya Plain. 

If the Konya Plain can be located in Tarhuntašša and Tabal respectively, then the mega-site of Türkmen-Karahöyük would have been a primary centre of these Late Bronze Age and Iron Age kingdoms. The site’s importance is suggested not only by its size, but also due to its close proximity to the Luwian-inscribed monuments at Kızıldağ and Karadağ. Both monuments were commissioned precisely during the period of maximal spatial extent of Türkmen-Karahöyük (see From Villages to Cities).