Koçumbeli Photo Gallery

Koçumbeli is located about 1400 m south of theYalıncak village, a small village on the campus lands, and a few hundred meters north of a lime kiln situated between Ahlatlıbel andYalıncak villages.The western section of the settlement, located on land where hilly terrain makes a gentle slope, faces a valley (Figure 1). It’s understood that the occupation area covers a fertile terrain with water resources in the vicinity.Towards the south lays higher rocky land, upon which Ahlatlıbel is situated.

The archaeological excavations at the settlement of Koçumbeli were begun in 1964 under the directorship of Mr. BurhanTezcan and with the cooperation of METU and of the Ankara Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. Between 1966 and 1968, the work was continued by Prof. Dr. Cevdet Bayburtluoğlu and Prof. Dr. Sevim Buluç. Koçumbeli has a three-phased cultural occupation belonging to the Early Bronze Age III. Like nearby Ahlatlıbel, it is a settlement of only one single period occupied during a certain part of the Early Bronze Age. Koçumbeli shares the same cultural characteristics as the other Early Bronze Age settlements found in the Ankara region, such as Karaoğlan, Ahlatlıbel and Etiyokuşu (Tezcan, B., 1966a: 64, Kansu, S. A., 1940: 85. Koşay, H. Z. 1934: 3-100).

Together with the Polatlı and Ahlatlıbel settlements, Koçumbeli holds an important place with regard to North Central Anatolian Early Bronze Age chronology.


Koçumbeli appears to be a large village, with houses containing groups of rooms of rectangular and oval plan (Figure 2). Inside the houses, there are generally two rooms, an oval room adjoining one of rectangular or irregular plan.The house walls were constructed of mud brick upon foundations of rough stone.The presence of stone post bases and post-holes shows that the roofs of these single storied structures are supported by wooden posts.The round or square hearths are found in the courtyard or inside the houses against the walls.The settlement area in general is surrounded by a wellpreserved wall which has the characteristics of a defensive wall (Tezcan, B. 1964a: 6). According to the documentation works initiated at Koçumbeli in recent years, it is established that the probable entrance of the settlement lays in the eastern part (Bertram, J. 2009).

The Finds

The finds of Koçumbeli consist of pottery for daily use belonging to the Early Bronze Age, and figurines of possible religious function, spindle whorls used in textile production, clay seals which could reflect proprietorship, and also stone, bone and bronze tools used for various tasks.These help us to comprehend the socio-economic level of this typical Early Bronze Age settlement; it is possible to say that Koçumbeli was a pastoral village where basic economic activities were agriculture, animal husbandry and textile production.Terracotta female figurines with violin shaped bodies are retrieved in large numbers; similar ones are widespread in the cultural geography of Anatolia, but particularly in Central Anatolia.


Almost all pottery vessels from Koçumbeli are very well slipped and burnished. All of them are hand-made.The most frequently encountered vessel forms are miniature bowls with or without handles. (Figure…) Among the other common forms are large bowls with rounded bodies, vases, flat based deep bowls, beak-spouted vessels, lids, and mugs with knobbed decoration. Mugs with spouts and pitcher are also quite widespread.The prevailing colours of the vessels are red and brown, black is also often seen.The black polished and grooved pieces resembling teapots form a separate group; they may be imitations of metal vessels.

The bulging handles that mostly end in schematic animal heads are a peculiarity of Koçumbeli pottery that attracts attention. Because it was not possible to find a complete vessel with this type of handle, one cannot give their full repertoire; however it can be said that they hold a significant place among the study materials and that they represent a mature art (Tezcan, B. 1964a: 64).

The Koçumbeli ceramic assemblage, especially the miniature bowls, display similarities with Demircihöyük ceramics (Korfmann, M. 1977-1978); in terms of chronology, it is suggested that Koçumbeli group of finds should represent an earlier phase, probably the first half of the 3rd Millennium BC (Bertram, J.-K. 2008).

When taken as a whole, the ceramic collection of Koçumbeli is also included within a distinct material culture known as “The Ankara Group” among other contemporary settlements like Ahlatlıbel, Etiyokuşu, and Karaoğlan in Ankara.The major differences observed between Koçumbeli and these other settlements are related with architecture and burial customs. In the abovementioned settlements the custom of intramural burial is seen, whereas in Koçumbeli only a single grave was found, to be described below in more detail.This makes one think that, if not completely, at least to a great extent, the burial places outside the settlement were preferred (Tezcan, B. 1966a: 64; Kansu, S. A. 1940: 85; Koşay, H. Z. 1934: 3-100).

  • Figurines

Figurines from Koçumbeli comprise one of the richest and most interesting collections of the Central Anatolian Early Bronze Age (Figure……). Almost all of them could be identified as female, their sexual attributes being clearly depicted. Some examples achieved a certain artistic level in terms of form and decoration. However, there are also examples which may be characterized as crude. Examples with violin-shaped bodies predominate.The bodies mostly have incised decoration. An obvious symmetry has been respected in decoration and forms. Eyes and pubic triangles are elements given particular importance. It is thought that such figurines, the function of which has been much debated and which have a long past in prehistory, were mainly related to cult. Like the examples found in dozens of prehistoric settlements, almost all of the examples were broken; this must be related to the role of these figurines in ritual practice (Tezcan, B. 1966a; Kansu, S. A. 1940: 91-93; Zübeyr, H. Z. 1934: 80-86).

  • Seals

When the location, size and period of this settlement are considered, together with the limited extent of excavation, the seals from Koçumbeli are quite numerous. Most of these seals have incised, usually geometric, decoration. (Figure……).These types of seals are encountered in all contemporaneous settlements in Anatolia; the repertory represents a certain period and is thus important for chronological comparisons.

In fact, the function of seals of this period is also a matter of dispute. Although numerous seals have been found, seal impressions, whether on bullae, on vessels or on other clay objects, are so scarce as to be almost nonexistent. But it should be kept in mind as a possibility that they may have been used on perishable materials such as cloth, or that seal impressions of this kind may have been deliberately destroyed after their use (Tezcan, B., 1966a; Kansu, S. A., 1940: 86-89; Zübeyr, H. Z., 1934: 69-73).

  • Toy-like objects

Among the interesting artifact groups from Koçumbeli are the toy-like objects.The most common types are miniature beak-spouted jugs and clay rattles. It is also possible that the animal figurines may also have been cult objects (Tezcan, B. 1966a: Lev. XIII; Kansu, S. A. 1940: 80).

  • Animal Figurines

This finds group is abundantly encountered at Koçumbeli (Figure……). Like the anthropomorphic figurines, their function is a matter of debate. All are made of terracotta and the heads and feet of most of them have been damaged. Domestic animals such as sheep and cows are predominant in the assemblage. However pigs, which may be thought of as hunted animals and not completely identifiable, are also observed. Some have channelled decoration (Tezcan, B. 1966a: Pl. XXXIII C; Zübeyr, H. Z. 1934: 86-87). .

  • Bone Artifacts

Bone artifacts include antler, a hammer of bone, and piercing tools made of bone. It is possible that the artifact in the form of a hammer was made from antler as well.

  • Spindle Whorls

A large number of spindle whorls were recovered at Koçumbeli. Most of them are of terracotta; among them there are some with incised decoration, which can be also found in other Early Bronze Age sites (Figure……). Lime filling can be traced in some of the incised decoration. Stone spindle whorls are quite low in number. Spindle whorls are used in textile and thread production.The fact that they were found in such large numbers in spite of limited excavation suggests that Koçumbeli textile production was rather an intensive industry (Tezcan, B. 1966a; Kansu, S. A. 1940: 99-101; Zübeyr, H. Z. 1934: 60-64).

  • Metal Objects

The most important metal find is the bronze spearhead dagger (?) recovered from the “grave of a lord” (it is probably not a grave of a lord) and a pin on which marks of thread are fairly evident.The golden ear plugs that were found from the same grave are of equal significance.

  • Grave of a Lord

The only grave found at Koçumbeli was located in the courtyard between the largest house and another house of the 3rd cultural layer. A spear head dagger (?), the point of which was bent, a bronze pin bearing textile marks and golden ear plugs found close to the deceased’s head were the only burial goods.This is a custom connected with burial that is also common in other contemporaneous Early Bronze Age graves.The grave was closed with a stone lid.