Ancient granaries in Turkey’s Manisa reveal history of grape production

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Many granaries from 3,500 years ago have been unearthed in the western Turkish province of Manisa. The granaries were found in the eight-hectare Gölmarmara Kaymakçı settlement dating back to the early Bronze Age.

Ancient granaries in Turkey's Manisa reveal history of grape production
Aerial view of excavations at the Early Bronze Age site at Gölmarmara Kaymakçı
showing storage pits [Credit: AA]

Excavations have been continuing in Gölmarmara Kaymakçı, which is the largest early Bronze Age settlement in the Gediz Delta, since 2014.

Head of the Kaymakçı Archaeology project excavations, Koç University Archaeology and History of Art Department academic Associate Professor Chris Roosevelt and deputy head of excavations, Yaşar University academic Sinan Ünlüsoy provided information about the excavations.

The early Bronze Age structures, which are made up of a castle and houses on an area of eight hectares, also shed light on Manisa’s agricultural history. Ünlüsoy said the excavation works have been carried out with a team of 25-30 people.

Gölmarmara Kaymakçı is an attractive place for archaeologists, said Ünlüsoy, adding its size is four times bigger than the ancient city of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale.

“This is a very big early Bronze Age settlement. There is one more famous Bronze Age settlement in Turkey, which is the ancient city of Troy. Gölmarmara Kaymakçı is four times bigger than Troy. This is the largest settlement unearthed in the Gediz Delta.”

He said the settlement was discovered following 10 years of archaeological work carried out by Roosevelt and that they had found many granaries in the region during the excavations.

“Houses come to the surface; we are getting information about their architecture. One of the most surprising things for us is that there are countless round-shaped and huge-size granaries. Most of the granaries were emptied when the settlement was abandoned but there are still some particles. So far, we have not found a full granary. We have found barley, wheat and grape seeds in the granaries. We can say that grape production dates back to 3,500 years ago in Manisa. The seeds are being examined in the Koç University Archaeology Laboratory,” Ünlüsoy said.

Ünlüsoy said that Kaymakçı is a big city surrounded by a high castle.

“There are two protected fields in the castle. The top field, called the inside castle, is surrounded with walls. Such a plan is made in high places. There are also castles on the road. Kaymakçı is the biggest one among them. Commercial roads were very important in the early Bronze Age; especially for metal trade.

We think the castles were built to take control over these commercial roads in the region,” he added.

Ünlüsoy noted that a visitor center has begun to be established next to the excavation field and materials have been found in the field.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [July 28, 2017]

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