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Yesemek Quary and Statue Workshop

Yesemek Outdoor Museum is located on a hillside facing the southeast by the village of Yesemek, which is about 23 km to Islahiye, Gaziantep. The hillside is covered with many gray and violet colored bazalt rocks known as dolarite. Yesemek site was first spotted by Felix Von Luschan while he was excavating at Zincirli in 1890s. The initial research and excavations were done by Prof. Bahadır Alkım between 1958–1961, during which about 200 rough statues were uncovered. Yesemek is the largest known sculpture workshop in the ancient Near East. For the dates of site's use, different opinions have been expressed varying from the end of the Empire period to late in the Neo-Hittiote period. Near the top of the hill, one can find the remnants of the quary where the rocks were cut out. With recent excavations by İlhan Temizsoy, the number of statues have now exceeded 300, and more are believed to be still under ground. In 2005 the site was organized into an outdoor museum by the commissioning of Gaziantep Museum.

Click on pictures for a larger image.

T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009
T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009
Gate Lions
T. Bilgin - 2009
Mountain Gods
T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009
Bear-man and others
T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 Relief of a battle chariot, 8-9th century BCE
The Quary
T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009 T. Bilgin - 2009

Alkım, B. Yesemek Taşocağı ve Heykel Atölyesinde Yapılan Kazı ve Araştırmalar, Ankara: TTK. 1974.
Duru, R. Eski Önasya Dünyasının En Büyük Heykel Atölyesi Yesemek, İstanbul: Tursab. 2004.
Temizsoy, İ. “1991 Yılı Yesemek Açıkhava Müzesi Kazı Raporu,” III. Müze Kurtarma Seminerleri 27-30 Nisan, 1992: 87- 101.

Image sources:
Ataman Hotel Photo Gallery, Abbas Ataman.
Tayfun Bilgin, Bora Bilgin, Ertuğrul Anıl, 2009.