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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. The quary was in use both in the Empire period (15th-12th century BCE), and after a period of inactivity, during the Neo-Hittite period (9-8th century BCE), when the site was located within the Kingdom of Sam'al. Near the top of the hill, one can find the remnants of the quary where the rocks were cut out. Statues that originated from Yesemek have been found in several nearby Hittite sites, confirming that the site has been used as a quary and workshop. With recent excavations by İlhan Temizsoy, the number of statues have now exceeded 300, and more are believed to be still under ground. In recent years the site was organized into an outdoor museum by the commissioning of Gaziantep Museum.

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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
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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.
Duru, R. “Yesemek Heykel Atelyesi ile İlgili İki Bulgu,” in Knowledge Production from the Black Sea to the Euphrates (FsBilgi).
    Ankara: Bilgin Yayınları. 2011: 147-50.
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.