Early bronze age House Tour

October 7, 2012

At Titriş Höyük, we recovered the complete houseplans of several buildings. While each building had its own distinctive modifications, there were many regularities that suggest a common template was used for many of the domestic structures. The plan below illustrates one of the houses we excavated in the Lower Town. This one was excavated in 1996. It contains many of the features common to domestic residences in the late Early Bronze Age of Titriş Höyük.

The main entrance to the building was through Room 1. The cobbled street in front of the house sloped slightly downhill from north to south. During the rains, water would have coursed down the street, carrying much of the residential waste of the city with it. In order to keep the water from entering into the house, the builders at Titriş Höyük employed a limestone stoop to raise the entrance of the house above the level of the street. Room 1 itself was cobbled.

The entranceway (Room 1) leads into an open courtyard. The courtyard was at some point divided into three separate spaces using a small internal dividing wall (Rooms 3-5). The reason for this division is not clear. The courtyard was covered in irregular cobbles. As one entered the building through the front door, a modestly sized room (Room 2) was located to the left. This room may have served as a reception room for visitors, as it has no access to the rest of the building.

Surrounding the courtyard area were a series of living rooms which were mostly bare, except for simple mud hearths. The hearths were horseshoe shaped and usually sat upon small smoothed plastered sections of the floor. Otherwise, the floors of the closed rooms typically were packed earth.

To the north of the courtyard in Building Unit 5 are a series of rooms (Rooms 10-17) which were used for a variety of production purposes. The photograph above shows John Kelly, the project architect, standing in Room 11 immediately adjacent to a large grinding stone (which is upside down). This room served as a processing place for food. When Titris Hoyuk was abandoned, the occupants left only those artifacts that were either broken, too large to carry, or interred in tombs.

Each house contained a large circular plastered basin. These basins were more than two meters across and slightly concave. They drained towards a spout and collecting basin, suggesting that one function they served was to process liquids. Chemical residue tests show the remains of tartaric acid, probably the result of processing grapes, possibly for wine. In later Roman times, this region of Turkey was famous for its wines.