Melekli-Kultepe (Igdir) Mound, Urartian Fortress and Columbarium in Minuahinili (Karakoyunlu) on the northern slope of Mt Agri

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In this article the Urartian settlement in Melekli-Igdir is discussed together with the new sites investigated during the Mt Agri survey and the excavations undertaken at the Melekli-Kultepe Columbarium by P. F. Petrov (1913) and K. Balkan (1966). The most remarkable sites of Mt Agri survey are those described as complex settlements, these are Melekli and Karakoyunlu on the north foot and Bozkurt on the south foot. These kinds of settlements spread over a vast area were inhabited for a long period between the Late Chalcolithic Period and the Middle Iron Age (Urartu) or the Late Iron Age (Achaemenid), related to each other. There are mounds, fortresses, lower cities and cemeteries that comprise different periods in the horizontal stratification system at each one of these complex settlements in important locations. Melekli and Karakoyunlu located at the north foothills of Mt Agri and Igdir Plain - Aras Valley posses complexes of the area with the most important archaeological finds. Melekli and Karakoyunlu are important centers also for the Early Iron Age and Middle Iron Age (Urartu). This region was taken within the Urartian borders in the conquest of Eriqua, an Early Iron Age local kingdom, and a new province was established by the Urartian King Minua (810-785/780 BC). Besides its fertile soils, the Igdir Plain - Aras Valley was also important with regards to being a gateway point for southern Transcaucasia-northwestern Iran. According to the inscriptions, King Minua built his new city Minuahinili at Karakoyunlu (Fortress II) as the center of the new province besides another Fortress (Bulakbasi 2). Numerous new Urartian fortresses which were detected in our research indicate that the city of Minuahinili had developed through the new settlement over the course of adjustments conducted at this region and Southern Caucasia-Northwestern Iran by both Minua and the subsequent kings: Melekli-Lanetlitepe and Bozkurt Fortress II were outposts - road stations situated on both sides of the Mt Agri western pass; Omeraga-Golyuzu Fortress was the central fortress located at the southern slope; the Aktas Fortress was a garrison-city on the northern slope. Melekli Urartian settlement contains an outpost - road station (Lanetlitepe Fortress), which was probably established by King Minua. Its inhabitation seems to have persisted without interruption, together with the settlement and columbarium at Kultepe Mound and the fort (?) (Deliktas Mound). Melekli, with its location at the west end of the plain and on the Mt Agri - southern Transcaucasia - northwestern Iran gateway, was the most important point between the city of Minuahinili and Eastern Anatolia.


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Melekli-Kultepe, Mt Agri, Minuahinili, Urartu, Eastern Anatolia, Southern Caucasia



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