Upper Tigris Region - Settlement History of the Ambar Cay Valley

Ökse A. T.

OLBA, vol.28, pp.1-34, 2020 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Journal Name: OLBA
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-34
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


The Ambar Dam, which is established in the Kocakoy District of Diyarbakir, will affect three mounds. Salvage excavations carried out in 2018 provide important data on the settlement history of the upper basin of Ambar Cayi. The soundings on the eastern skirt of Ambar IRV& brought out four levels of Medieval architecture. The material recovered from the soil agglomerated from the mound is dated to the Pottery Neolithic Period, the Middle Bronze Age, the New Assyrian period and Middle Ages. The settlement in Gre Filla (Ambar I) had begun in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, and continued during the Neolithic period, and Kendale Hecala had been inhabited during the Pottery Neolithic period. Both mounds have been resettled in the Medieval Period.A "crested blade" and a "Byblos point" recovered among the surface soil in Gre Filla date the earliest inhabitancy of the region in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B. "Early Mineral Tempered Ware" and "Dark Faced Burnished Ware", being produced in the 7th millennium BC, are numerous in all mounds. The "Light Coloured Straw Tempered" and "Dark Faced Burnished" pots produced in the Early Pottery Neolithic witnessed a continuous settlement in Gre Fula. The sherds belonging to light coloured bowls decorated with incisions and red paint belong to the "Hassuna Pottery". "Husking Tray" fragments were also found together with these groups. In all three mounds, several sherds of the Halafian Painted Pottery, produced in the Late Neolithic Period have been found in all three mounds. In Kendale Hecala, Dark Faced Burnished Ware and painted vessels reflecting the characteristics of the early phase have been detected. Middle Halafian sherds have been identified in all mounds, and a Late Halafian sherd in Gre Filla. All three mounds seem to have been abandoned after the Neolithic Age. The sherds dating to the Early Bronze Age IV, Middle Bronze Age, New Assyrian period and the Roman period have only been recovered in Ambar Hoyuk. All mounds provide sherds belonging to coarse common ware, unglazed moulded vessels with relief decoration, and green glazed pots dating to the 11th-14th centuries. An area of 2 km in radius around Ambar Hoyuk is a high agricultural area with deep water in the southern half, where Gre Filla and Kendale Hecala are located, and is suitable for rain-fed agriculture and animal grazing in the northern half. All three mounds have been inhabited during the Neolithic period, suggesting these being very close to each other, as small scattered fanner settlements connected to each other. The same is also true for the Middle Ages. The pot sherds dated to the Byzantine, Islamic and Seljuk periods show the same characteristics in all three mounds. According to the "Site Catchment Area" and "Site Territorial Area" analysis, the obsidian residues on the surface of all mounds indicate these to be located in the distribution area of the resources to the west of Solhan district of Bingol. Ambar valley is a natural route leading to one of the most suitable mountain passages between the main trade route of Northern Mesopotamia and the raw material resources in the Taurus range, and nomadic pastoralists still use this route during seasonal migrations.