First results on determination of cosmogenic Cl-36 in limestone from the Yenicekale Complex in the Hittite capital of Hattusha (Turkey)

Akcar N., Ivy-Ochs S., Alfimov V., YILMAZ İ. Ö., Schachner A., ALTINER D., ...More

QUATERNARY GEOCHRONOLOGY, vol.4, no.6, pp.533-540, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.quageo.2009.09.002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.533-540
  • Keywords: Exposure dating, Cl-36, Inheritance, Hittites, Hattusha, IN-SITU, ISOTOPE-DILUTION, ROCKS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


We have measured Cl-36 in three rock surfaces of the Yenicekale building complex in Hattusha (Bogazkoy, Turkey). Hattusha was the capital of Hittite Empire which lasted from about 1650/1600 to 1200 BC. At Yenicekale, Hittite masons flattened the summit of an outcropping limestone knoll to form an artificial platform as the foundation for a building. Next they built a circuit wall along the lateral precipices of the flattened bedrock platform. We took one sample from the limestone bedrock platform and two samples from limestone building blocks of the circuit wall for cosmogenic Cl-36 analysis. Calculated exposure ages are 20 +/- 1 ka for the sample from the bedrock platform and 24 +/- 1 ka and 52 +/- 2 ka for the circuit wall blocks. These exposure ages are significantly older than the age expected based on the estimated time of construction between 3.2 ka and 3.7 ka. We conclude that the sampled surfaces contain significant inherited cosmogenic Cl-36. We cannot directly determine exposure ages for the building complex based on these three samples. On the other hand we may use the measured concentrations to determine how much of the rock was removed from the platform during flattening. To this end we modeled the variation of Cl-36 production with depth at Yenicekale using the results from the bedrock sample. We conclude that the Hittite masons removed only around 3 m from top of the limestone block. This means that the volume of rock removed from the bedrock platform is significantly less than the volume in the circuit wall atop the platform. They did not gain enough rock from this flattening to make the building. In agreement with this, the first results of our detailed microfacies analysis indicate that many of the building blocks are not of the same facies as the underlying limestone and must have been quarried elsewhere. Although we were not able to exposure date the Yenicekale complex due to the presence of inherited Cl-36, our data suggest that Hittite masons excavated (most of) the building stones not at Yenicekale, but in quarries outside of Hattusha and then transported them to the construction site. These quarries have not yet been identified. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.