ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Atilla Engi̇n

Keywords: Oylum Höyük, Middle Bronze Age, foundation offering


The excavations in square J22 located on the northwest elevation of Oylum Höyük between 2007-2009 seasons reveal new information about Middle Bronze Age foundation offerings. These were placed under the foundation and under the floors of a building which has two building phases which are dated to Middle Bronze Age II according to ceramic material. In the early stage of the building a copper axe and a bronze figurine of god, in the later stage of building the bronze statuette of a divine pair with nail-shaped extension at the bottom have been uncovered. The placing of the objects under the foundation or the floors of the house as offerings dedicated to the gods probably reflects a protective measure for the buildings. Numerous museums and private collections have bronze foundation figurines in their inventory. Most of the figurines, however, have not been uncovered at the scientific excavations. A few find centers reveal that the foundation figurines represent a tradition which probably started at the end of the third millennium and continued until the middle of the second millennium B.C in the Levant and western part of the Middle Euphrates region in North Syria and Southeast Turkey. It seems that this tradition spread from Mesopotamia to the north and west. Stagnant standing position of Oylum Höyük bronze figurines with stretched out forearms bent at the elbow are common depictions in the Middle Bronze Age in North Syria and Levant. Extended forearms parallel to ground by bending at the elbow are important dating criteria for the first half of the second millennium B.C.