Godin Tepe

17 October 2009
One of the magazines of Godin Tepe

One of the magazines of Godin Tepe

In the area immediately surrounding modern Hamadan are several sites that may be labeled “Median”. Earlier this year, I blogged about Tepe Nush-e Jan; this time, we visited Godin Tepe, which is just south of the road to Kangavar. The eighth-century Median settlement was built on a hill, consisted of several halls and storage rooms, and reminded me of both Tepe Nush-e Jan and Çavustepe, an Urartaean fort I visited a couple of years ago.

Today, little remains of Godin Tepe (satellite photo). Some of the storage rooms are still recognizable, but the halls were destroyed when the archaeologists made a deep sounding. They discovered that the hill contained at least nine earlier strata, going back to the Copper Age; very interesting of course, but there’s little left to be seen for the occasional visitor.

The most interesting aspect of our visit was the discovery that on the site of the ancient cemetery, which has been excavated and contained no archaeological remains any more, a new cemetery had been made. Apparently, today’s inhabitants want to be buried where their ancestors had rested. Remarkably enough, they all had “Godini” as their family name.

Issus (town)

17 January 2009
Photo Marco Prins.

A Medieval comb with a lion.

The port of Issus, or Izziya as the Hittites called it, or Kinet Höyük as it is called today, would have been completely forgotten, if the Macedonian king Alexander the Great had not defeated the Persian king Darius III Codomannus on the plain immediately south of it on 5 or 6 November 333 BCE.

Without that famous battle, the twenty-six meter high mound would have been like any other Bronze and Iron Age settlement in greater Syria: inhabited since the Late Neolithic, several strata, normal houses made of mud brick, countless household items, and statuettes of that ubiquitous naked goddess holding her breasts, which have been found in Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Hellenistic contexts.

To be honest, the site isn’t worth a detour,  but the objects are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Antioch, with some excellent explanatory signs. I hope to put online photos of the battle site soon; for the moment, the old page is here.