Ortaköy History

      Ortaköy is a town 53 kms. southeast of the province of Çorum.It is situated at the north of Central Anatolia, to the south of Black Sea Mountain Range and at the end of Kelkit Valley which is the entrance to Anatolia from the Caucasus. To the east lies Amasya,and to the southwest, Yozgat. Şapinuwa is situated 3 kms. southwest of Ortaköy. It can be reached, as well as with the highway from Corum, either with Sungurlu-Alaca-Kizilli-Ortakoy route or with Amasya-Goynucek route.


Ortakoy Hittite City is aflat and extensive settlement situated on the plateau stretching as terraces on the northern slopes of the Valley of Özderesi, a tributary of the Çekerek River.The Hittitesdid not settle on the mounds where the local people of the regionhad been living, but created a city on a large, fiat land which is 3 kms. in the east-west direction and 2.5 kms. in the north-south direction.The strategic location of Şapinuwa is very important.

Themountains surrounding the city, the plateau ascending in terraces on the Amasya Plain,and the fortification facilities starting as far as 5 kms. enable the city to be easily defendable. Since the city has a key location in between Alaca and Amasya plains, as long as the city, which is two-days distance from Hattu§as, stands still, the roads to Bogazkoy-Hattusas are under control. As well as there are traces of military and religious architecture of the upper city on the hills to the west, the need for water and timber were being supplied from these hills.


The Hittites has a prominent place in the history of Anatolia.They are the first who established a political unity in Anatolia, and are one of the most important nations at their times . The scarcity of information about them and their sophisticated civilisation have always been the center of interest. Although previously we were being informed with the excavations at the Hittite centers, such as Bogazkoy and Masathoyiik, today Ortakoy excavations is supplying extremely important data to the archaeological world.

 supplying extremely important data to the archaeological world.The architectural materials, excellent construction technique, the symmetrical ground plan, and the valuable cuneiform archive found until now at Ortakoy -Şapinuwa excavations shed light to many unknowns of thousands of years ago. At Ortakoy archive, place and personal names appear very frequently.

ago. At Ortakoy archive, place and personal names appear very frequently. The newly discovered geographical names are of a nature that will clarify many of the controversial topics on the geography of Anatolia at the Hittite era. Şapinuwa had been localised in the past to the  southeast of Bogazkoy by the scientists with the notion that it should be close to the Hurri region. However, the identification of Şapinuwa with Ortakoy have shifted many of the city names to the northeast of Anatolia.


 At Şapinuwa, an important structure was uncovered with the excavations which began in 1990. The building lies at a dominant point on the plateau, and has a location with an impressive view. This monumental building has a symmetrical plan. In the present ground level, limestone and sandstone blocks have been used at the base of the structure underneath the mudbrick superstructure These blocks seem to have been arranged in a Cyclopian order.
A great care and skill are clearly visible at the joints between the block. The height of the foundation reaches some 2 metres above  the ground, and the width is about 2 metres. Concluding from this wide foundation and scattering of mudbricks some 10 metres away from the building we may assume that the building was originally at least two-storeys high.

The building has witnessed afire and therefore, has been destroyed. Due to agricultural activities, mudbricks that should have been laid on the foundation have been greatly destroyed. It  was also used as a cemetery in the Roman times. This 3500 vears old building which is an engineering and architectural wonder covers an area of 100x25 sq.m., and the excavations are still being carried out. Whatever purpose the building "A" serves, whether it be administrative or religious, it has definitely a considerable importance for Ortakoy-Şapinuwa with its unique architecture, small finds, and tablet archive.


İn 1995 excavations started at Kadilar Höyük, 150 metres southeast of building "A". At the foundation of building "B". plain-eat blocks have been uncovered. On top of these foundation blocks which are arranged in two rows, 110 cm.wide mud-brick walls were found .On these mudbrick walls uncovered a well-polished, straw-added, 3.5-4 cm. thick plaster. Beside the ground level of this building, a second storey made of an intense timber structure was evidenced with the burned beams which have fallen down with the remains of another .

storey. Only a section of this building full ofpithoi, which, therefore, may be called a depot, has been excavated. There are over 30 pithoi found until now where food or drink was kept.

     in building "A", where the the excavations are still in progress, around 3000 tablels and tablet fragments have been found in a Hiltite cuneiform archive. These tablets and tablet fragments have been uncovered in a deposition layer of upper storey ruins. There are three seper-ute archive locations in this monumental building.These tablets include various topics such as religious, political, military, administrative, and fortune-telling matters. The archive mainly consists of letters. There are texts written in Hurrian, Hitto-Hurrian and Akkadian as well as in Hittite. After a close examination of the archive, it has been understood, besides the identification of

Şapinuwa with Ortakoy, that Ortakoy had been a residential town for the great Hittite king, had been an administrative, political, military and religious center, had had a close contact with Hattusas, and had had a number of cities in its administrative boundaries. In Ortakoy excavations, in addition to this important archive, there have been carefully manufactured dark gray, buff, and terracotta coloured, well-polished and well-fired common ware, as well as mostly buff and terracotta coloured, slipped ritual vesselsAmong those are plates, hydria, jugs, juglets, andpithoi.

Although not too many in number, there are metal objects which can be considered as fine examples of the Hittite era, such as arrowheads, bronze axe and dagger. Among the golden pieces is a golden object with palmette motif, which gives valuable dues for the relations between Anatolia and Egypt. Another important group of finds are the triangular objects which are thought to be used at rituals. ; Especially the one made out of obsidian is very striking. Moreover, there are seal impressions in the Hittite hieroglyph.

Alıntı:Ortaköy Şapinuva Arkeoloji Araştırmaları kitapçığı.