Aslantepe Tumulus, also sometimes spelled as Arslantepe, is a 5,000-year-old tumulus located in Malatya Province in the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is identified with the ancient city called Melid. It dates back to Chalcolithic period and late Hittite period. The excavations started in 1932, and are still carried out by the teams of Italian archaeologists. Aslantepe became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021.
The unearthed king's palace is an open-air museum. Some of the artefacts, including the first swords known in the Early Bronze Age, are exhibited in Malatya Museum while others - in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.
Statue of King Mutallu
Mutallu was a local king of the 8th century BCE, subjected to Sargon II, the king of Assyria. His appearance shows strong Assyrian influence, like his wavy hair and beard, the diadem and knotted sandals. He wears a long robe and a cloak which covers his left shoulder. He holds a sword hilt or a goblet in his right hand. The statue was found to the right of the palace entrance at Aslantepe.
Lions of the Aslantepe Gate
There was a Lion Gate in Aslantepe, created by lion statues unearthed during excavations carried out by the French archaeologists. These statues, from the Neo-Hittite era (1180-700 BCE), are now exhibited in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, and display all the hallmarks of the endearing style of Hittite artist.
Aslantepe (from Turkish words: aslan-lion and tepe-hill) gets its name from the lion statues excavated at the location. On site, there are modern copies of the lion statues.
Lion-men with swords
This limestone orthostat (1200-700 BCE) depicts two lion-men with swords at their waists on both sides of the tree of life. The figure on the right holds a sickle in his left hand. The figure on the left carries a double-faced axe in his right hand.
A winged protective god
This limestone orthostat (1200-700 BCE) depicts a winged protective god, holding a branch with fruit in his left hand, and a fruit in his right hand.
The legend of Illuyanka
In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt, the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. The god of storm represents good forces, while Illuyanka represents evil forces. Thus, the legend ends with the defeat of the evil by the good. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa. The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli.
The relief now on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara depicts the Sky God as he kills the dragon Illuyanka. Behind him stands his son Sarruma. The twisting body of the snake is depicted in undulating lines with human figures sliding along. This relief was discovered at Aslantepe and dates to neo-Hittite period 1050-850 BCE.
This limestone orthostat is also part of the legend of Illuyanka. It shows a scene of two gods walking in the same direction. One is carrying a spear, and both are dressed in tunics.
Scene of offering by King Sulumeli
This limestone orthostat from the period of 1200-700 BCE shows a scene of offering drink and sacrifice. The god, with a symbol of divinity above, is in the chariot while holding a weapon in his hand and a sword at his waist. The same god holds a lightning bundle in the middle. On the right, the king offers a drink to god. The inscription above reads "Great, powerful King Sulumeli". A servant stands behind, holding a bull for sacrifice to the gods.
Scene of sacrifice with Teshub
This limestone orthostat (1200-700 BCE) shows a scene of sacrifice. The king is offering drink and sacrifice to the gods. He pours a libation from a pitcher to a vessel. Behind the king, a servant brings a sacrifice. The Storm God - Teshub - stands across the king. He holds a triple lightning bundle - sickle, and a spear mace set in the other similar orthostat to the right. The goddess Ishtar holds weapons in both orthostats. All the figures have shoes with curled ends.
Scene of sacrifice with Parata
Another Aslantepe neo-Hittite relief sculpted orthostat stone panel from limestone, 1200-700 BCE, shows the scene of a king offering drink and sacrifice to the god. The god, with the bow attached to his shoulder and with a triple bundle of lightning in his hand, is standing on the deer or a bull. The king looks at the god and makes the libation while carrying a sceptre with a curled end called lituus. Behind the king, there is a servant holding a goat for sacrifice. Hieroglyphs read: "God Parata, Strong King...".