Settlement mound Tepecik and the Karaz culture in Eastern Anatolia
The longevity of the Kura-Araxes culture is an archaeological phenomenon in the Caucasus and Near East. Over the course of a millennium, this culture spread from its origins in Eastern Anatolia, the Transcaucasia and northwest Iran to Southeastern Anatolia, northern Syria, Palestine and Israel. Named after the settlement mound Karaz near Erzurum, the Karaz culture is a widely established Turkish term for the Kura-Araxes culture. In Palestine and Israel, this culture is called Khirbet-Kerak. Apart from the striking small finds and special architectural features, it has a special pottery with characteristics that remained almost uniform in its area of distribution. Situated in the Altınova plain in Eastern Anatolia, Tepecik was also home for this significant culture. Today, this settlement mound lies under the waters of the Keban Dam in Elazığ. Yet its strategic location on a tributary of the Euphrates enabled the emergence and development of various cultures. At this settlement, archaeologists documented the Karaz culture that occurred in an almost unbroken cultural sequence from the Late Chalcolithic up to the beginnings of the Middle Bronze Age. Thus, Tepecik is one of the most significant prehistoric settlements within the distribution area of the Kura-Araxes/Karaz/Khirbet Kerak culture in the Near East. This paper presents the Karaz pottery from Tepecik as well as the possible development of the Karaz culture in the course of the Early Bronze Age at this settlement.
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