The Most Recent Findings Related to the Early Iron Age at the Eastern Black Sea MountainsHülya Çalışkan Akgül
Archaeological past of Trabzon has been explained by considering the data in the written sources of antique era -to date. However, so-far this history cannot be proved archaeologically. The region has witnessed a few, short-term surveys, which did not continue long. Trabzon Protohistoric Period Survey Project which was started in 2018 aims to increase data about the region. In 2019 survey season, Mulaga Valley in Maçka was one of the areas where reseach was conducted. .In this valley, south to Zırvanos at Kalecik (Mile) Castle with an altitude of 2000 m, ceramic pieces dated to the Early Iron Age were identified.. These ceramic findings show similarities with the Early Iron Age ceramic repertoire of the northern part of the Van Lake basin, northeastern Anatolia, and Transcaucasia with regard to their paste, surface treatment, and decoration. Kalecik (Mile) Castle findings allows for the first time to interpret Early Iron Age in the region. This paper argues that Eastern Black Sea Mountains were actually not a barrier for the Eastern Anatolian Early Iron Age.
Doğu Karadeniz Dağlarında Erken Demir Çağı Varlığına İlişkin Yeni BuluntularHülya Çalışkan Akgül
Trabzon’un arkeolojik geçmişi daha çok antik dönem yazılı kaynaklardaki veriler dikkate alınarak açıklanmaya çalışılmaktadır. Ancak bu geçmiş arkeolojik yönden kanıtlanamamaktadır. Bölge az sayıda ve sürekliliği olmayan yüzey araştırmalarına sahne olmuştur. 2018 yılında başlatılan Trabzon İli Protohistorik Dönem Yüzey Araştırmaları Projesi ile bölgenin bilinmeyen geçmişi aydınlatılmaya çalışılmaktadır. Araştırmanın 2019 yılı sezonunda incelenen alanlarından biri, Maçka ilçe sınırları içindeki Mulaga Vadisi’dir. Vadide, Zırvanos mezrasının güneyinde, yaklaşık 2000 m yükseklikteki Kalecik (Mile) Kalesi’nde, Erken Demir Çağı’nın tanımlanmasını mümkün kılan seramik parçalar tespit edilmiştir. Saptanan seramikler hamur özellikleri, yüzey işlemleri, form ve bezeme özellikleri bakımından Van Gölü Havzası’nın kuzeyi, kuzeydoğu Anadolu ve Transkafkasya Erken Demir Çağ seramik repertuarı ile benzerlik göstermektedir. Doğu Karadeniz Dağları’nın kuzeye bakan yamaçlarında yer alan Kalecik (Mile) Kalesi ile birlikte bölgede ilk defa Erken Demir Çağı hakkında değerlendirme yapabileceğimiz arkeolojik materyal ele geçmiş ve Doğu Anadolu Erken Demir Çağı için Doğu Karadeniz Dağları’nın bir bariyer oluşturmadığı anlaşılmıştır.
Amongst Anatolian archaeology, Trabzon is a scene of few and discontinued surveys. The history of the region can be traced only as early as to the middle of first millennium BC through written sources of the antique era yet not proved with archaeological data. The textual records document that before and after the Helen colonization (i.e., beginning of the second quarter of first millennium BC), the region has not been desolated but inhabited by local communities. Trabzon Protohistoric Period Survey started in 2018 aims to display the region's pre-Classic Ages. The Survey area in Trabzon was divided into two major plans as littoral and inner regions. Valleys of the streams splitting the territory through the north-south direction allow the inner regions to access the Black Sea and sub-regional mountain ridges.. Maçka, which became the main focus of the survey, is an important gate that connects Black Sea littoral to inner districts. To understand the pre-Classic Age of this geo-strategically important area, survey has been planned considering a route north to south. Accordingly, Maçka can be divided into five sub-regions form west to east; Mulaga, Değirmendere (this valley, which starts from Trabzon, is also called Hamsiköy Valley on south to Maçka), Larhan, Altındere/Meryemana and Atasu/Galyan. In 2019 survey season, the Mulaga Valley, which is located as the farthest to the south Maçka, was investigated.
To the south of Zırvanos/Üçgedik District in Mulaga Valley, a rocky field just to the north-west of the Kalecik district is located. Being at the altitude of 2000 m, the inhabitants call the area Kalecik (Mile) Castle. This rocky field lies east to west and is 130-30 m in size. The entrance of the castle, which seems to be built on a rocky surface, could not be detected. However the natural conditions as a plain field suggest a possible entrance at the north-west points. A plastered wall with 4.5 m width and 6 m height ascends solely on the rocky field towards the north to the castle. Our team has been informed that some parts of the fortification wall has been exploded by some raiders using dynamites. In the middle of this rocky field, a circular and filled well with a diameter of 2 m is located. A second well is also detected to 2 m east of the first,, however the field is heavily destructed to allow further interpretation. Near the northern slope of the castle several scattered ceramic pieces were found. However, any architectural finding associated to the finds cannot be detected. A through studied on the ceramics demonstrate a sequence from the Early Iron Age to the Middle Age. Majority of the ceramic pieces are dated to Early Iron Age. Their surface are mostly brown. One of the pieces with mineral tempering has incised decoration. Outer surfaces of some pieces are black, bright burnished and smooth while inner surfaces are mottled black. This dark pattern on outer surface is most likely related with firing technique and mottling seems to be a result of secondary firing process. Moreover, both surfaces of the piece show of tournette marks.
Ceramic findings demonstrate similar features with the ones found in the north of the Van Lake Basin (Patnos, Çaldıran, Ernis/Evditepe) and in the north-eastern Anatolian (Bozkurt Kurgan-Cemetary 1, Büyükardıç) Early Iron Age ceramic repertoire regarding the paste, surface treatment, production technique, typology, and decoration. These ceramic pieces prove that the cultural characteristics of the Eastern Anatolian Early Iron Age could also be followed in the Eastern Black Sea mountains. This assertation is for the first time in Trabzon region, for a site at a considerable altitude and castle-type. Geography of the area around the Kalecik castle evokes at the plains of the Eastern Anatolia in contrart to the dense forested characteristic of Black Sea region. When the altitude is over 1000 m, it becomes less humidity as well as sub-humid and semi-arid plains become available. The region must have been suitable for transhumance during the Early Iron Age, as it is practiced today. In this context, the area of Kalecik Castle could be proposed as a region with environmental features that people with castle-like settlements of Early Iron Age were "used to".
Trabzon is also important with its ore resources. Especially Maçka region has rich reserves of pyrite, copper, iron, lead, zinc, molybdenum, and manganese. Although prehistoric usage of these resources have not been confirmed yet, this potential is almost impossible to go unnoticed by the Iron Age communities. This communities must have processed iron along with copper and introduced products with increasing experience on metallurgical activities. Compared to the different regions of Anatolia, one of the greatest challenges in archaeological studies in Trabzon is literally the "lack" of surface visibility. This difficulty makes existence of ceramic pieces especially importance. The findings detected at Kalecik castle in 2019, for the first time, make an archaeological interpretation about Early Iron Age in Trabzon possible.