The largest Iron Age painted pottery collection of Anatolia was unearthed at Oluz Mound

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In Oluz Mound where evidence of the belief in Zoroastrianism, the earliest example of monotheistic belief in the Ancient Near East, has been found, the largest collection of Iron Age painted and decorated pottery in Anatolia has been reached.

Oluz Mound was discovered by Prof. Dr. Şevket Dönmez from Istanbul University between 1997 and 1999. Excavations have been ongoing in the region under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Şevket Dönmez since 2007. The significance of the mound, which yields different findings each year, is substantial in terms of Anatolian history.

Oluz Mound is located 2 km northwest of Gözlek Village and approximately 5 km east of Toklucak (formerly Oluz) Village. It is situated about 3 km south of the Amasya-Çorum highway.

The collection, which includes unique pottery fragments with lion figures, is evaluated as the largest painted and decorated pottery collection in Anatolia, featuring pieces that are unparalleled in their kind.

Ates Gede, the fire cult temple area unearthed at Oluz Mound
Ates Gede, the fire cult temple area unearthed at Oluz Mound

Following the discovery of large pottery fragments, including lion figures, in a fire temple from the Persian period, excavation director Prof. Dr. Şevket Dönmez, a faculty member of Istanbul University’s Department of Archaeology, stated that these fragments were taken for examination to the excavation house. He mentioned, “There’s nothing similar to the lions of Oluz Mound. Over 2,000 painted and decorated pottery fragments found during the 17 years of excavation are highly valuable in terms of Anatolian Iron Age and pottery craftsmanship. I believe that these findings haven’t been encountered in any excavation until today.”

Oluz Mound

Prof. Dr. Dönmez explained that they have assessed that painted and decorated pottery production took place at Oluz Mound between around 1200 BC and the 300s BC. He stated, “When the Persians came to Anatolia, they liked to use the lion figure. The strength and power of the lion have always appealed to the Persians. However, the Persians didn’t have a strong tradition of pottery making. But when they came to Anatolia, they also began to manage pottery workshops. They started shaping things according to their own preferences.”

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