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ANMED Issue: 2003-1
 
Kinet Höyük 2002
Marie-Henriette GATES
 

Kinet Höyük is in the vicinity of Dörtyol, Hatay, on the ?skenderun Bay and is the largest pre classical mound in East Cilicia. It is a medium sized mound, 26 m in height with a surface area of 3.3 hectares, at an altitude of 500 m above the sea level. The area covered with orchards today to the north and east of the mound was the site for a settlement in antiquity as well. The settlement looks quite ordinary, based on its size and appearance; however, the Issos Plain surrounding the site became very famous after the battle of 333 BC, when Alexander the Great defeated the Persian king Darius and his army. It is possible that as the dominant city in the region, Kinet could be the Issos of antiquity.

 An Ancient and Modern Harbour
Kinet provided its basic economy and importance from its two harbours, one, a small cove to the north, the other being the ancient mouth of Deliçay River, which has moved kilometers to the south over the intervening centuries. Therefore, it is seen that using the left bank of a river estuary as a well-protected harbour, Kinet follows the pattern of the ancient settlements of pre-Hellenistic times in the Eastern Mediterranean such as Al Mina (modern Samanda??), the nearest excavated one to Kinet. The maritime advantages of the site have been recently admitted again, with the establishment of two companies (Delta Petroleum Products Trade Inc. and BP Gas) on the ancient estuary harbour between the sea and the mound. These companies provide a strong example, reminding one of the maritime based economy of Kinet in antiquity.

A Decade of Excavations at Kinet Höyük
Excavation work at Kinet Höyük started in 1992, in collaboration with the Hatay Museum and has continued since 1993 as a project of Bilkent University under the direction of Assc. Prof. Dr. Marie-Henriette Gates. These 10 years revealed the cultural history of this harbour which was inhabited from the Neolithic period (6th mill. BC) through to the end of the Hellenistic period (mid 1st c. BC) and was reused in the Middle Ages by the Crusaders for a short period of time (12th-14th centuries AD). The excavations have mainly focused on the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze (Hittite) Age, and Iron Age strata, while the medieval strata have been studied by Prof. Scott Redford of Georgetown University, USA. As the scope of the Kinet research is to find out how the harbour adapted itself to the changing cultural and environmental conditions, the other basic research areas of the project include the geomorphological study of the region, palaeobotanic and palaeozoological analysis: The most recent field of exploration is the underwater survey of ?skenderun Bay. All this work brings together a multidisciplinary team with the undergraduate and graduate students of Bilkent University, who are thereby presented with field work implementing a wide range of archaeological techniques.

Kinet 2002
 The work of the 2002 Campaign was carried out on the mound and the areas to the north. On the left slope of the mound, two more rooms from a burnt administrative building of the Middle Bronze Age (17th-16th c. BC) were exposed to the light of day. It is possible to relate the pottery and other finds with contemporary finds from Tarsus, Cyprus and from western Syria. On the western slope of the mound work continued on the Iron Age Assyrian building (late 8th c. BC) with a paved central courtyard and its building history. Among finds from these strata are: an unparalleled fibula, having the shape of a naked goddess holding her breasts and, a container with a Phoenician inscription on it. The work on the medieval strata was carried out on the summit of the mound with houses with large courtyards in an orthogonal layout. This work yielded an impressive pottery collection, including a terracotta horse-shaped vessel from the Hellenistic period, which was reused in the Middle Ages. Soundings in the areas to the north showed that the settlement extended about 100 m in this direction in the 4th century BC. when the region silted up. Further, a Roman road stretching parallel to the sea was discovered just inland from the settlement. A copper coin from the reign of the Roman Emperor Gratian (367-383 AD) dates the construction of the road and its use to the time when Antioch emerged as a Late Imperial capital.

The second important occasion of the season was the start of the work to exhibit the finds from Kinet in the Hatay Museum, with generous donations from the USA. Preparations will be completed in June 2003, when the exhibition will be opened to public.

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