Chantre took plaster casts of the reliefs and concluded from these that it was a door to a temple rather than a palace. The first systematic excavations to begin were started by Atatürk in the Republican era in 1935 and lasted until 1983 and again resumed in 1997. From the research made it has been discovered that there were four layers of cultures existing here and it has been continuously inhabited from the Chalcolithic (Copper) Age 4000-3000 BC (layers 15-9), Old Bronze 3000-2000 BC (layers 8-5), Hittite 1800-1200 BC (layers 4-2), the Phrygian Age since 750BC in the 1st layer, and each have 15 different architectural layers. There are 13 important kings’ tombs here from the Old Bronze Age followed by the Chalcolithic Age layers 1 to 4, and tombs in layers 5 to 7 are believed to be unique to Anatolia and even to the Asian borders that belong to adult men and women as no babies or children were found here. Gifts left for the dead include sun disks, deer and bull sculptures, decorative pieces, daggers, swords, axes, and pieces of earthenware, stone, gold, silver, bronze and copper.
The Bronze Age architecture consisted of stone foundations, sun-dried bricks, flat ceilings, plastered floors and earth roofs. The Hittite built a defence system in the form of a circle with a diameter of 250m with two main gates to enter the city. On the south eastern door, which was a religious entrance to the tumulus, are two sphinxes with magnificent heads on inflated bodies with short legs and a two-headed eagle carrying a rabbit in his claws can be seen in the interior of the east side of the sphinx. Other reliefs and depictions include hunt scenes, a head priest, king and queen praying in front of a bull during holiday celebrations honouring the storm god which has been mentioned in Hittite texts. After passing through the door to the complex are the foundations of a large Hittite building called Mabet-Saray (Temple Palace).
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