Başur Höyük

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Excavations in Başur Höyük

Excavations have been continuing since 2007 at Başur Höyük (Basur Hill), near Aktaş village, 20 km from Siirt city of Turkey. Rescue excavations in Başur Höyük, which has been considered to be one of the most important archaeological works of the last 10 years by Artnews, published in the USA, have been completed.

Excavations in Başur Höyük
Excavations in Başur Höyük

The radio carbon dating method showed that the items belonged to 3100-2900 BC and were made in the Early Bronze Age. The construction of the items revealed traces of the Bronze Age and an advanced civilization. There are 17 tombs dating 3.100-2.900 BC, with a rich inventory of metal objects, weapons, cult objects, symbols, jewels and other grave goods in Basur Hoyuk.

Archaeologists think that, based on valuable items from the graves, the buried people belonged to the upper class of society.

The Oldest Play Set in the World

The oldest figurative play set in the world, with the game pieces thought to have been played 5,000 years ago was found in a burial site in Basur Hoyuk.

Basur Hoyuk Board Game

This game set is very important, it is the earliest game set that can be dated in this kind of wide geography covering Mesopotamia and Anatolia. This set is dated between 3100 and 2900 BC. Set is probably a grave gift. This game set doesn’t look like it has been played too much, so there is no wear on it.

The game is like a chess set. Archaeologists are trying to unravel the strategy of the game. When we consider the shapes and numbers of the stones, we estimate that the game is based on the number four.

Basur Hoyuk Game Tokens

The fact that the game has a flat surface under the stones of the game, which is played with two players, indicates that the game is probably played on a patterned board. However, if there is such a ground, it could not be found because it could not bear the time. This shows that the possibility that the game may have been played by drawing on the soil surface or a piece of textile can also be evaluated.

Ancestor of Chess?

Again, according to the experts’ findings, the tombs unearthed in Başur Höyük probably belong to a rich elite or ruling class, not the ordinary people. With this type of games, educational purposes can be targeted by teaching planning and strategy based intelligence games to the children of these families. Even the stones found in Siirt can be defined as one of the oldest known ancestors of today’s strategy games.

Basur Hoyuk Graves

Human Sacrifices

Bone studies show evidence of human sacrifice in these tombs. The discoveries show the first example and possibly the origin of a different concept of wealth and value associated with a new warlord society. This new worldview has spread to the west and helps to understand the royal tombs of Arslantepe, Alaca Höyük and Troy.

Basur Hoyuk Findings

Tour Guide to Basur Hoyuk

Hasan was cooperative and reasonable when I shared my plans of travelling in the South East Turkey. He took me to Basur Hoyuk without hesitation. He was good at planning and taking necessary permissions for our visit since this site is not open for tourists yet. I hope you can enjoy your time with Hasan Gulday too.

Curtis R. Smith

Curtis Smith

Lecturer in University of Missouri, Columbia, MO Turkey Expert and Archeology Enthusiast

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