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3,500-Year-Old ‘Hieroglyphs’ Discovered in Cappadocia

A team of Turkish archaeologists has discovered hieroglyphics dating back to approximately 3,500 years, in an old stable located in the historic region of Cappadocia.

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The region is known for its “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley, Göreme and elsewhere.

Other notables sites include Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by troglodytes (cave dwellers) and later used as refuges by early Christians. The 100m-deep Ihlara Canyon houses numerous rock-face churches.

View of Cappadocia landscape. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
View of Cappadocia landscape. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The Ancient Glyphs

According to the head of the archaeological expedition, Yucel Senyurt, the hieroglyphs were found in the district of Gülşehir, in the central province of Nevşehir. The symbols are thought to belong to the time of the Tabal kingdom and could shed light on the history of the Neo-Hittite kingdoms which ruled over the region between 1,160-700 BC.

The stable where the glyphs were uncovered was used by the locals to keep their cattle safe in recent times, however, due to the discovery, the authorities have now put it under protection.

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“We are extremely happy that scholars are taking steps to protect history,” said Derviş Uçar, one of the residents of the area.

According to the Daily Sabah, the rocks where the hieroglyphics are engraved will be removed by expert stonemasons and then sent to the Nevşehir Museum for future research.

The Tabal kingdom to which these inscriptions are thought to belong to appeared for the first time after the collapse of the Hittite Empire, in the south-central part of Anatolia.

The region where the carvings were found is also home to several underground cities which were used thousands of years ago to protect people from different things including, war and harsh climate.

One of the most famous underground cities of the region is the Kaymakli Underground City, found the citadel of Kaymakli located around 19 km from Nevşehir. So far, archeologists have discovered and cataloged the existence of around one hundred tunnels within the underground city. Some of these tunnels are still used today as stables, cellars, and storages.

A passage in the underground city of Derinkuyu. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A passage in the underground city of Derinkuyu. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The underground city of Derinkuyu and the Özkonak Underground City are two other excellent examples of underground settlements found in the Nevşehir region. Özkonak was most likely built by the people of Byzantine Cappadocia, although the age is uncertain and could be older.

Derinkuyu was built at a depth of around sixty meters below the surface and is thought to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. Derinkuyu is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey.

Nevşehir and its surroundings attracted great kingdoms of the time, including Hittites, Phrygians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans.

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