Stone relief from Sayburç, Sanliurfa

In Sayburç (one of the Taş Tepeler* sites in Şanlıurfa Province) a five-figure scene consisting of two humans, leopards, and a bull was unearthed.

Sayburç was found in 2021 after the Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum was informed that obelisk parts were used in the garden walls of the village. Considered to be contemporary with the last periods of Göbekli Tepe, the Sayburç is also one of the Taş Tepes in Şanlıurfa, which consists of Göbekli Tepe and eleven other archaeological sites around it.

During the 2021 excavation season, a circular planned pit-bottomed building was found that was carved into the limestone bedrock. Along the wall of the building, which is about 11 meters in diameter, there is a bench about one meter high, also carved from the bedrock. In a small area that survived the destruction at the rear end of the 60-70 cm wide bench, the wall of the building still stands.

On the front of the bench, five interrelated figures in reliefs are carved into the bedrock surface. Among the three figures on the right-hand side, there is a human depicted from the front and two leopards facing him on either side, which are identical in form. Both leopards are sideways, their mouths open, their teeth visible, and their tails depicted above.

The male figure in the middle is holding his phallus with his right hand, and his left hand is on his stomach. The lines in the form of a triangular necklace or collar around the neck of the male figure are seen in many of the Neolithic human figures in this region.

To the left of this scene is another person, whose back is turned to these figures, and who is understood to be a male by the extension of the phallus. This figure, depicted from the side like the leopard, is facing a bull. This person, who appears to have six fingers on his left hand, is holding an upside-down snake with his right hand. The face of this figure is looking towards the bull.

Taş Tepeler* (literally meaning Stone Hills) is a region of settlements in the Anatolian and Upper Mesopotamian region that has the oldest established settlements, spanning 200 kilometers from one end to the other.

by Merike Joosep

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