Tahsin Özgüç

Keywords: Hittites, Excavation, Ferzant, Cemetery, Konaklı, Çorum

In 1978 I published some information on the cemetery at Ferzant- Büget [1]. These are two large villages not far apart. I commented that the Hittite cemeteries in this area did not cover much ground. These cemeteries were located at convenient, scattered places in groups of some 40-60 tombs. My further inquiries revealed that there had been a Hittite cemetery at Biiget, as there was at Ferzant. Whatever pottery emerged complete from the tombs was dispersed to museums and private collections. We know nothing about metal,stone or bone objects from the tombs.

Ferzant, now named Konakh, is 35 km. Northeast ofQorum (Mape. 1) Ca. 500 m. West of the main road Qorum-Merzifon-Samsun, it is set on a high limestone ridge. To the West of the road, a fertile plain is bordered on the North and West by rocky hills and ridges.

The cemetery must have been located at a site called Kir Mevkii, between Ferzant and the outskirts of Ayvahk village to its North, on a rocky hill ca. 400-500 m. from Kisliktepe near Körpınar, and on the ridge extending to the Northeast (Figs. A-Bi. Here the villagers excavated erratically. In the dumps fragments of Hittite pottery of Ferzant type were in evidence. Digging also took place at Gbkdere, 500 m. to the Northwest of the village. I n the debris there again were Hittite sherds. Hence we assume that a totally looted Hittite cemetery had existed in this area to the North and Northwest of the village.

An important point is that no human bones or remnants of cremated human bones, or of pithoi were found on the dumps. It seems to us that at Ferzant the dead were buried in the ground or in cavities among the rocks, in the from of plain inhumations. The villagers give no information on this point.

Like the area of the cemetery of Kazankaya, the Ferzant cemetery is set in a marly soil. Hence, every single one of the more than too vessels from here has traces of a white marly incrustation on the surface, which is very difficult to clean, since it has penetrated the slip or wash of the surface.

According to the nature of the terrain, some of the dead were buried in earth pits, others in natural cavities among the rocks. The cemetery at Biiget, as I wrote before, is set in an area of the same character[2]. Erosion exposed the tombs. Rain and wind carried the thin soil cover down the valley.

The shapes of the vessels from the tombs do not show much variety. To judge by the collection in the Hittite Museum, the majority consists of handleless and handled bowls, beak-spouted pitchers, and two-handled deep jars. These are about 280 items altogether. Among them are four globular, long-necked and round-rimmed pitchers, three teapots, three fruitstands and one long-necked, two-handled tankard. Evidently some vessels that did not belong to the Ferzant group were mixed in with the others. Made of the same clay, and in the same technique, these vessels from Ferzant represent a well defined repertoire. They were not in use for a long period. This homogeneity of the pottery suggests that the cemetery was used for a relatively short period. The pottey was deposited in the tomb in new, unused condition. The tombs were not rich in gifts. We are dealing with cemeteries of the common people.

The collection in the Hittite Museum will be presented completely in a separate publication prepared jointly by Raci Temizer and the present author. In this article I offer some comments on the Ferzant cemetery and its pottery in connection with some Hittite pottery which has turned up in American Museums.

The pottery from Ferzant is dispersed to museums and private collections all over the world. I have published specimens on display in the Musees Royaux d’Art and d’Histoire of Brussels and in the Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Near East[3]. In the years 1980-81, an invitation to the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art gave me the opportunity to study finds from Ferzant. Dr. Prudence O. Harper, Curator of the Ancient Near Eastern collection, authorized me to publish a beaked pitcher which certainly comes from the cemetery from Ferzant, as I see it. I am much obliged for Mrs. Harper’s kindness. She also secured permission for me to publish a vase in the Art Museum of Princeton University which was reported to belong to the same group. Two Hittite pitchers on display in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts are published here with the permission of Dr. Timothy Kendall, to whom I also am grateful. I also publish a two-handled bowl in the private collection of my friend Prof. Dr. Haldun Giirmen, whom I thank warmy for his permission.

The well levigated clay of this pottery has an admixture of mica particles. Not a single specimen is thick slipped and polished in the manner of the pottery from Kanish. A pink-reddish was covers the shoulders, rims and handles of bowls, the entire body of beaked pitchers, and the upper half of two-handled jars. This much diluted wash is a common characteristic of Ferzant pottery. The other parts of the vessels are left in the color of the clay and burnished. The color of the clay is dark buff, camel, light brown and faded red. Wet-smoothed vessels are rare; handleless bowls are most often treated this way. Other special technical features will be dealt with in the text.

1. Handleless bowls are the most common tomb gifts. The Hittite Museum in Ankara has 126 specimens. They can be classified in 9 types:

  1. Simple inverted rim, round base. Rim diameter 15-16 cm., height 8-9 cm.
  2. Large bowls with rims thickened along the interior. Diameter 18-23 cm., fie*ght 8-9 cm. (Fig. 34).
  3. Bowls with inverted rim, carinated shoulder, and round base. Rim diameter 23-24 cm., height 8-9 cm. (Fig. 1).
  4. Simple inverted rims, deep neck, flat base. Dark and light- red slipped inside and out. The smaller ones are 9.5-12 cm. in diameter, the large ones, 18-19 cm. The height is 2-3 cm. and 3-7 cm. respectively. The Hittite Museum has 20 specimens of this type (Fig. 36). These are wheelmade Hittite versions of Early Bronze Age bowls.
  5. These are smaller than type c. Flat-based, very rarely with pointed base. Some are made of coarse fabric. Rim diameter 10­13.5 cm., height 5.5-7.5 cm. (Fig . 37).
  6. Rim thickened on the exterior, forming an offset band. Shoulders rounded (Figs. 2, 39). Most are flat-based, a few rounded. These are the commonest tomb gifts. The Ankara Museum has 60 examples. Rim diameter 10.5-18.5 cm., height 5-9 cm. Two of these bowls are very thin-walled; they are red- slipped inside and out, and brightly polished; they stand on ring­bases (Fig. 3, 35). The rim diameter is 28-30 cm., height 8-9 cm. These are products of a special workshop. Perhaps they were found somewhere else than the cemetery at Ferzant. The dealers must have mixed them up with the Ferzant pottery.
  7. The Hittite Museum has two one-handled bowls. They have a pink-red wash on interior and exterior. The rim are everted (Fig- 4> 38)- Short-necked, with carinated shoulder. Rim diameter 13-19 cm., height 2.5-4_5 cm.
  8. Two-handled bowls are a frequent tomb gift (Figs. 5-8). The Museum has 22 specimens. The outer rim is thickened in a profiled band. Most of these bowls are carinated, a few are lightly rounded at the shoulder. Many have ring-bases, very few are flat-based. On the shoulders, these bowls have a pair of v- shaped, horizontal small handles. In very few instances interior and exterior are given a color wash. Sizes are medium and large. Rim diameters 15.5-20 cm., height 4-10 cm.
    The bowl in the collection of Prof. H. Giirmen is of this type. It has a pink-red wash on the interior and extreior (Fig. 8), and is polished. Rim diameter 17.2 cm., height 6.7 cm. Such bowls are also found in tombs of level la at Kanish in the Karum [4]. In contrast to Kazankaya, Ferzant has very few two-handled bowls with inverted rims.
  9. The Hittite Museum has two examples of four-handled bowls (Fig. 9). Evidently they were rarely deposited as tomb gifts. Of the four handles, one pair is set vertically linking rim to shoulder, the other pair is horizontal and set against the shoulder. Carinated body, ring-base. Rin: diameter 15 cm., height 8.5 cm. These bowls are examples, with local characteristics, of a type of bowl very common in the period of the Old Assyrian Trading Colonies.

2. Two-handled jars or deep bowls (Figs. 10-12) [5]:

These are emong the popular tomb gifts. The Museum has 50 specimens. Most have sharply carinated bodies, very few are somewhat rounded in profile. The body tapers toward the base. The rim is everted, the neck below the rim is slightly curved in. All examples have small flat base. I n a small minority, the entire body has a color wash. The v-shaped horizontal handles are always set on the widest part of the body. This shape occours in small, medium and large sizes. The small ones are 11-13 cm. in height, 12.5­15 cm. in diameter; the medium ones measure 15-16 and 15-18 cm. respectively, the large ones, 16-19 an^ *5'22 cm. One piece in this group is handleless and smaller than the others. H. 8.6, diameter 9.8 cm.

The jar in the Princeton Museum of Art also belongs to this Ferzant group (Fig. it). H. 16 cm., Diameter 17.2 cm.

3. Pilchtrs:

a) Brak-spouted pitchers (Figs. 13-23):

Apart from the bowls, this is the most frequent shape among the tomb gifts. The Hittite Museum has 58 pitchers. The majority has bodies of biconical, sharply carinated profile, the minority is of curved and slightly carinated form. One specimen has an ovoid body and stands on a rather high ring-base (Fig. 16). Necks are cylindrical. Most have thin and pointed beak spouts (Figs. 20-22). The beaks are lightly down-curved; only one pitcher has an upright spout (Fig. 14). In one instance, the interior of the spout is made in two channels, exceptionally (Fig. 17). These pitchers, like those from Kazankaya [6], do not have triangular appendages below the spouts. Also, the spouts do not have strainers, and there are no nipple-like knobs on the bodies. Handles of oval section connect rim and shoulder. Where the handle merges into the shoulder, there is a flat offset surface (Fig. 17). This is characteristic of this period. Most of the pitchers have ring-bases; flat bases are rare. I n just a few instances the lower part of the body is left in the color of the clay. zXmong the large pitchers, some have a wet-smoothed finish. Most of the pitchers are of medium size, a few are small, and large examples are even fewer. The large sizes run in height from 30-35 cm., in diameter 1 7-20 cm.; medium sizes from 24-30 and 15-18 cm. respectively; small ones, 14-15 and 9-19 cm.

The beaked pitchers in the Metropolitan Musem of Art and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (height 29.5 cm.) are counterparts of the Ferzant pitchers in every respect. I have no doubts that they were taken from this cemetery (Figs. 18-19).

One of the pitchers in the Hittite Museum is red-slipped, flat-based and thin-necked (Fig. 23). The upper part of the body is decorated with a chevron pattern incised in double grooves. This special treatment is unique among the pitchers of the Ferzant-Kazankaya group.

According to the record of the Hittite Museum, one of the master pieces of Hittite ceramic art (Fig. 25) came from the Ferzant cemetery [7]. H. 50 cm.; Dia. 22.5 cm.; the disc-base is 11.3 cm. in diameter. The pitcher is red- slipped and polished to a mirror-like finish. In technique this slip is quite different from the pink-red wash of Ferzant ware. On a long, thin tubular neck, the beak spout curves down with a pointed tip. The upper body is of flattened conical profile; below the very sharp carination the lower body tapers to the foot in a concave curve, resembling a funnel in profile. The handle rises from shoulder to rim and is triangular in section. The front of the upper body, below the beak, has two sharp triangular relief knobs. Pitchers of this type and technique are well known from Alacahbyiik[8], Boğazköy[9] and Eskiyapar (Rati Temizer, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, p. 85). The pitcher of Eskiyapar is brownish, dark-red slipped, smoked and polished to a glass. On a long, thin slender neck, the sharp beaked spout gracefully curves down with a pointed tip. The upper part of the body is conical, below the very sharp carination, the body tapers down in concave profile to disc­base. On the upper body, below the neck, on each of the two sides, there are two sharp triangular relief knobs. The total length of this pitcher is only just over 50 cm. (Fig. 26). Archeaological Museum, Ankara. Examples found in the temple at Inandik also resemble the present one. Director Raci Temizer, my colleague, has given permission for the beak-spouted pitchers from Inandik to be published in this context. One of the Inandik pitchers, of conical profile and dated to the period of Hattushilis 1 (Fig. 28) represents the floruit of this kind of pitcher (H. 51, Dia. 16.5 cm.). A second Inandik pitcher, of the same type, has an oval body and short pedestal (H. 44, Dia. 14 cm.) resting on a disc-base (Fig. 27). These pitcherscan again be classified by special types. I believe that they were used in the cult. Their shapes do not lend themselves to everyday use. Liquid offerings were brought to the gods from this kind of pitcher; they were used as libation vessels. They were not used as burial gifts.

The beak-spouted pitcher on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, 28 cm. in height, differs from the above (Fig. 29). It is red-slipped and polished. In contrast to the other pitchers.'it has a thin and tall body, and the carination is on the shoulder, not halfway up the body. The wide spout is cut off straight at the tip. A band handle runs from the carinated shoulder to the rim of the short neck. This pitcher stands on a base ring. The closest parallels come from tombs in the Karum[10]; these are also comparable in size (Fig. 24), but the Kanish pitchers are thin-walled and some of them have strainer-spouts. The quality of slip and polish is higher in Kanish, but these are differences in detail. Basically they represent the same type.

b) Round-rimmed long-necked pitchers:

The Museum has four specimens. Two of them are ovoid in shape; the first is wet-smoothed, the second, buff-slipped and polished. H. 22.5, Dia. 15.5 and H. 16, Dia. 15.1cm. and H. 28, Dia. 17 cm. respectively (Fig. 30). The handles, oval in section, connect the upper body to the neck. The surface finish is a pink-red wash. They have counterparts in pitchers from houses of the Karum of Kanish levels la-b[11], of the other two, one is oval in shape with a round base (Fig. 31). The second is carinated and flat-based. The rims are cut off but left unfinished. The handles, of triangular section, arc attached to the body in an unfamiliar technique. The thick-walled bodies also are carelessly finished. The measurements are H. 16.5, Dia. 19.1 and H. 15.1 and Dia. 17.4 cm. respectively. For parallels one can look at pitchers from tombs of the Karum lb level in Kanish, which are elegant and well-polished [12].

Fruilstands (Fig. 32):

The Museum has two fruitstands from Ferzant. They have their upper parts shaped like a two-handled bowl. The lower part is a concave pedestal widening toward the base. The upper part is slipped, the pedestal left clay­colored. The first measures H. 18.9, Dia. 14.cm., the second, H. 18.1 and Dia. 21.8 cm. These Ferzant fruitstands with their small handles, continue the tradition of fruitstands of the Colony Period, with the kind of similarity also observed for the other shapes [13].

5. Teapots (Fig. 33):

The record shows that three teapots were brought to the Museum from Ferzant. Two are light-red-washed, the third is wet-smoothed. The bodies are mildly carinated. Handles are oval in section. Two are small in size (H. 4 7, Dia. 8.8 cm. and H. 5.8, Dia. 9.4 cm.), one is large (H. 11.4, Dia. 20.6 cm.). In type they resemble pots from the Assyrian Colony Period, but they are coarser in execution.

From the explanations of the villagers from Biiget and the excavations from Kazankaya [14], it is evident that in the cemetery of Ferzant the dead were also buried without cremation, and that the custom of cremation was unknown. Because the tombs at Kazankaya and Ferzant were not deep, the bones were readily subject to decay and scatter. It is true that in the cemetery at Yanarlar the pithoi were carefully buried [15], but their proximity to the surface allowed water and moisture to enter the pithoi and cause the disintegration of the skeletons. In burial customs the cemeteries of Ferzant and Kazankaya resemble the cemeteries of Gordion [16], Yanarlar and the intramural tombs of Kiiltepe and Alijar[17]. The cemeteries of Osmankayasi [18] and Ihca [19] are of another character, and show that two different burial customs can be practised in the same cemetery.

In Kazankaya a dress-pin with rock crystal head came to light [20]. The villagers told us that more such pins had been found, but had not been picked up because they were broken; they also reported the occurrence of small stone beads. In finds, Ferzant is not a richer cemetery than Osmankayasi, Gordion and Yanarlar. These were commoners’ burials, as was pointed out by the excavators. In the cemeteries of Osmankayasi and Ilica where cremation was practised, the tomb gifts, apart from pottery, were pieces of bronze wire, a seal[21], and metal rings[22]. The situation in Gordion and Yanarlar, the finds of which have been published in detail, is somewhat different. The Hittite cemetery of Gordion, in addition to pottery, yielded: copper dress pins; two gold, 3 silver, 9 lead and 7 copper rings (finger-and ear-rings); 4 copper bracelets; frit, metal and stone beads of various types; copper medallions decorated with star and rosette patterns, and a faience seal[23]. The situation in the cemetery of Yanarlar resembles that at Gordion. Here again, with the pottery, were bronze dress pins, bronze rings, beads of various types made of frit, faience, agate, rock crystal and bronze, and a disc of gold sheet[24]. On the other hand, the finds in some unplundered, undamaged tombs of native or Assyrian merchants of the Karum of Kanish in every case represent a rich collection. /Xdmittedly, we have no information concerning the cemeteries of the representatives of the high level of culture of this era at the citadel of Kanish, at Alachoyiik, Boğazköy, Acemhdyiik, Inandikand Ma§athdyuk. The cemeteries discussed above cannot fill the gap.

As I have written before[25], the cemeteries of Ferzant-Biiget are contemporary with that of Kazankaya. To judge by the pottery, the cemetery of Ferzant is not earlier than level lb of the Karum in its last phase or level la. It has a maximum span of 150 years, and must have been abandoned not later than 1600 B.C.

In the vicinity so far no flat settlement site or mound contemporary with the cemetery has been located. The habitation area cannot be very far from the cemeteries. No mound is in evidence nearby. This leads us to believe that a flat settlement site of the period of the cemetery was covered by the modern village of Ferzant and ruined.


As an exemplary demonstration of museological wisdom I want to cite the fact that the collection of the late Hiiseyin Kocaba§ in its entirety has been entrusted to the Museum of Sadberk Hanim and that these valuable antiquities have been safeguarded at the proper moment against dispersion. The public exhibition of this rich collection is an important contribution not just to the world of our museums, but also to that of our archaeology in general.

In the Museum of Sadberk Hanim we see on display three vessels from Ferzant formerly in the collection of Hiiseyin Kocaba$. One of these is a beaked pitcher (H. 28 cm., diameter 17 cm.), the other two are two-handled jars (H. 14.5 cm., diameter 13.4 cm. and 13.2 cm., 12.6 cm.). In fabric, shape, color and dimensions they do not differ from the specimens studied above (figs. 40 and 41). They confirm the consistency in the morphological repertoire of the vessels found in the tombs of Ferzant-Biiget and the lack of variety in forms.

For permission to publish these vessels here I am deeply grateful to my colleague Qetin Anlagan, Director of the Sadberk Hanim Museum.

A beaked pitcher from the Istanbul Museum [26] is here illustrated in color (Fig. 42) to give an impression of the red wash applied to the vessels from Ferzant.


  1. 1 Tahsin özgüç, Maşathöyük Kazıları ve Çevresindeki Araştırmalar-Excavations at Maşathtıyük and Investigations in its Vicinity, Ankara 1978.
  2. 2 Ibid, p. 87.
  3. 3 Ibid, p. 87, pl. 63, 4; 67, 1. 
  4. 4 Ibid, p. 126, , pl. 65, 2.
  5. Ibid, p. 126, pl. 67, 1.
  6. 6 Ibid, p. 126, pl. 62. 
  7. 7 Raci Tcmiz.cr, Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi-Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara. 1979. p. 36.
  8. 8 Hamit Z. Koşay, Mahmut Akok, Alacahöyük Kazısı ıg4o-t948-Ausgrabungen von Alacahöyük 1940-1948, Ankara 1966, pl. 13, e 236, h 93, h 94.
  9. Franz Fischer, Die hethitisehe Keramik von Boğazköy. Berlin 1963 (75. VVVDOG),Taf. 23, 242; 24, 244-247; 27, 275-277; 30, 243, 278. 
  10. 10 Tahsin özgüç, Kültepe-Kaniş, Assur Ticaret Kolonilerinin merkezinde yapılan yeni araştırnıalar-Ncvv researches at the center of the Assyrian trade colonies, Ankara 1959, p. ill, pl- 37- 31’
  11.  Tahsin-Nimet özgüç, Kültcpe Kazısı 1949-Ausgrabungen in Kültcpc 1949, Ankara '953' P- '59 pl- 45. "7-'al-
  12. 12 Tahsin özgüç, The art and architecture of ancient Kanish (Anatolia 8, 1964), p. 41, pl., 14. «•
  13. 13 Tahsin özgüç, Kültepe Kazısı 1949-Ausgrabungcn in Kültepe 1948, .Ankara 1950, p. 176 İT.. pl.. 43. 189-190.
  14. 14 Maşathöyük Kazilan-Excavations at M aşa (höyük 1978, p. 171 İT.
  15. 15 Kutlu Emre, Yanarlar, Afyon yöresinde bir Hitit mezarlıgı-A Hittite cemetery at Yanarlar near Afyon, Ankara 1978, p. 89 İT.
  16. 16 Machteld J. Mellink, A Hittite Cemetery at Gordion, Philadelphia 1956.
  17. 17 Kültepe 1948, p. 160 AT.: Kültepe 1949, p. 147 İT.; H.H. von der Osten, The Alishar Hüyük. Seasons of 1930-32 (OIP 29), Chicago 1937. p. 84 İT.
  18. R Kurt Bittcl. VV Hcrre, H. Otten, M. Röhrs, J. Schaeuble, Die hethitisehen Grabfunde von Osmankayası, Berlin 1958 (71. WVDOG).
  19. 19 Winfried Orthmann. Das Gralx’rfeld bei Ilıca, Wiesbaden 1967.
  20. 20 Maşathöyük Kazilan-Excavations at Maşathöyük 1978, p. 84, pl. 59, 6.
  21.  Osmankayası, Taf. 22,5
  22. 22 Das Grâberfeld bei Ilıca, p. 53-55, Abb. 6.
  23. A Hittite Cemetery at Gordion, p. 40 (E, pis. 17-23.
  24. 24 Yanarlar, Bir Hitit Mezarlıgı-A Hittite Cemetery, p. 106 IT., Fig. 110-183.
  25. 25 Maşathöyük Kaztlan-Excavations at Maşathöyük 1978, p. 86.
  26. 26 Maşathöyük Kazilan-Excavations at Maşathöyük 1978, p. 88, 128; pl. 85, 2a-b.

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