Veli Sevin, Aynur Özfırat, Ersin Kavaklı

Keywords: Van, Karagündüz, Tumulus, Excavation, 1997


Information of a more satisfying nature was obtained in 1997 regarding the stratigraphy at Karagündüz, one of the few tumulus-type settlements in the catchment area of Lake Van. Beneath the medieval layer composed of two structural levels (1 and 2), ceramic vessels exhibiting rich, painted decoration in three distinct styles-the most interesting of which is that displaying faunal motifs-were recovered from a Late Iron Age layer (structural level 3). This level is contemporary with Hasanlı III A. Below this level occur layers associated with the Urartu period (4c, 4b and 4a). In one of these (4b), a large structural complex with an enclosed courtyard was identified and finds of note peculiar to the Urartu culture were retrieved. The most remarkable of these were red burnished Urartu pots and an altar slab of bronze with a human visage in relief. This architectural complex is significant in terms of distinguishing the settlements established by the Urartus on tumuli outside the great citadels. One of the most interesting outcomes of the 1997 season was the uncovering of a thin structural level (5) below the Urartu layer, dating to the Early Iron Age. The sixth structural level in the north area of the excavated tumulus is dated to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. The traces of these layers are also very slight. Hence, the Lake Van catchment basin, like nearly all of the Transcaucasus and Northwest Persia in this period, is also represented by layers with very scant remains. A few painted shards of vessels in the Urmiye-Van style were discovered. Up to this point, the earliest structural level (7) belongs to the Early Transcaucasus period. Appearing in this structural level is a rudimentary architecture, whose structures, without stone foundations, are characterized by walls constructed entirely of mud brick.