Turkey's Kultepe eyes UNESCO World Heritage list

By Muzahim Zahid Tuzun

KAYSERİ, Turkey (AA) – The site of Kultepe, which was capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kanesh, is eyeing the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The site, located 20 kilometers to the northeast of central Kayseri province, was accepted in the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage on April 15, 2014.

According to the UNESCO website, Kultepe became a "key centre" of culture and commerce between Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia by the end of the 3rd millennium B.C. and during the first quarter of the 2nd millennium B.C.

Fikri Kulakoglu, a professor of archeology at Ankara University and head of the excavation team, told Anadolu Agency that the excavations are ongoing since 1948.

"Our aim is to add Kultepe to the permanent list. Of course, this cannot be achieved only with archaeologists," Kulakoglu said.

He added Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry and Metropolitan Municipality of Kayseri "strongly" supported them.

"This year, we will complete the file and submit it. Maybe next year or the other year, this issue will be considered," he said.

Kulakoglu said Kultepe with its pecularities can easily be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

According to UNESCO, scientific archaeological excavations at the site have uncovered a series of "highly important" monumental administrative structures as well as private dwellings.

A total of 23,500 clay tablets, which are the earliest written documents of ancient Anatolian history, have been found during the excavations.

"Life, society and economy at this site, even the family affairs and personal relationships of its inhabitants, were recorded on clay tablets in the Old Assyrian dialect of the Akkadian language using the cuneiform (wedge-shaped) script, the knowledge of which came into Anatolia with Assyrian merchants," it added.