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date: 21 October 2019


  • C. A. Burney


Site of an Urartian temple of the 9th and 8th centuries bc in eastern Anatolia, Turkey. It is situated on a hilltop more than 300 m above the main road from Erciş, on the north-east shore of Lake Van, to Karaköse (Ağrı). The temple is the earliest known example of the Urartian square tower form, built of ashlar masonry with a mud-brick superstructure (see Urartian, §2). It was excavated by a Turkish expedition in the 1960s and finds are in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Set into the fine basalt ashlar are the only two known copies of the Annals of Menua (c. 810–c. 788 bc), suggesting that he accorded this district a special status, perhaps as providing a base for his northern campaigns. Fragmentary wall paintings were discovered but left in situ.

A fortified enclosure below the temple, known as Aznavurtepe, may well have served as a compound for the cavalry and for captured livestock; there are traces of a reservoir for the storage of melted snow from the slopes. The perimeter wall is of a design not found elsewhere in Urartu and incorporates a series of towers (8×9 m) that straddle the wall, projecting from both the outer and inner faces; the towers were constructed first....

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