Biggest Bronze Age goddess statue found in central Turkey

Archaeologists have discovered an Early Bronze Age goddess figurine at the archaeological site of Kültepe in central Turkey. Since recent excavations began in 2018, the team has unearthed 35 figurines. At 17 inches high, this statue is the biggest found at the site, double the size of the next largest.

The figurine depicts a curvaceous woman seated on a throne. It is broken in two pieces — body to the shoulders and head — and is missing an object she was holding in her hand. The design of similar figurines suggests it may have been an animal.

[Ankara University professor Fikri] Kulakoglu said the goddess statue is being cleaned of dust to be displayed in a museum.

“This artifact is around 4,200 years old,” he said, adding that all of the statues, statuettes, idols found in Kultepe are women figurines.

“No idols of men have been found so far… the women statues are naked and have a decorated throne, and there are braids on their back,” he said.

Highlighting that the finding is unique, he said: “It is a very special piece for us… it is one of the most precious works showing religious beliefs of this region, of Kultepe.”

Kültepe was first settled in the Copper Age and was continuously occupied through the Roman era. Tens of thousands of cuneiform clay tables have been found from the Assyrian merchant colony built at the tell in the 20th century B.C. These are the oldest known surviving documents in Anatolia, and include the earliest record of Hittite words, or of any Indo-European language, for that matter. The goddess figurine dates to the earliest era of occupation. There are no written records from this period.