International meeting of the International Council for Archaeozoology “Future of Past Animals: Perspectives in Zooarchaeology”, Stockholm, Sweden, 15 - 19 June 2022
“Animal sacrificial offerings at Sapinuwa, a religious center of the Hittite empire, Late Bronze Age, Turkey”.
In the Late Bronze age, the Hittites established the first state – empire in Anatolia. It was a feudalistic and theocratic state in which religion and rituals had outmost importance for consolidating the power of the kings. A study of animal bones recovered from Sapinuwa excavations was initiated with the aim to reconstruct the rituals for which the site is famous. Hittite rituals are studied to date through the textual evidence where a large amount of information is given. The remains of actual animal sacrifices are rarely uncovered in archaeological excavations and studied. In Şapinuva, we have a large area, called Ağılönü, devoted exclusively to religious activities. There many sacrificial pits were excavated and almost all of them contained animal bones from these sacrifices. An appraisal of these findings is presented.