Recent excavations in the ancient city of Satala, situated in Historical Armenia, have unearthed a bronze belt bearing the emblem of Haldi, the chief god of the Kingdom of Van, alongside various plant and animal symbols.
Under the supervision of Associate Professor Şahin Yıldırım, these discoveries were made within a tomb, shedding light on the Kingdom of Van’s influence, suggesting it reached as far as the Gümüşhane Region. This challenges the previously believed boundaries of the Kingdom of Van (or Urartu Kingdom), which existed from the 9th to 6th centuries BC. Historically, its dominion spanned from the Euphrates to Lake Urmia and stretched from the Caucasus Mountains southwards to the northern Zagros Mountains in Iraq, with its heart near Lake Van in the Armenian Highland.
Notably, intricate patterns and craftsmanship representative of the Kingdom of Van era adorn the bronze belt. Symbols of Haldi, along with other deities, motifs, and imagery, embellish the artifact, suggesting a rich cultural and religious significance.
Although traditionally the Kingdom of Van was not believed to have extended to the Black Sea region, this recent find in Satala appears to redraw these historical boundaries.
Located 88 km from Gumushane’s center and 28 km from Kelkit’s center, Satala historically served as a crucial corridor between Anatolia, Cappadocia, and the Black Sea. Four years prior, a major excavation initiative, supported by various Turkish cultural and historical entities, began in this ancient city. Historically, the 15th Apollinaris Legion—one of the Roman Empire’s major eastern legions—ruled here for six centuries.
Belts from the Kingdom of Van era provide invaluable insights into the region’s religious practices, mythology, and daily life. They reveal not just craftsmanship but also societal structures and customs. The belts’ designs hint at the fashion, daily life, and societal status of their wearers, with thinner belts believed to be for women and broader ones for men. The broader belts often showcase depictions of warfare, mythology, and intricate patterns, while the slender ones feature repetitive motifs arranged in rows.