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The formation of collective, political and cultural memory in the Middle Bronze Age: foundation and termination rituals at Toprakhisar Höyük
Anatolian Studies  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-02-17, DOI: 10.1017/s0066154619000139
Murat Akar, Demet Kara

Constructing and deconstructing public spaces in second-millennium BC Anatolia, the Near East and the Levant was not only a collaborative physical act but also involved deeply embodied ritual symbolism. This symbolism is materialised in the practice of conducting public foundation and termination rituals that unified individual memories in space and time, transforming the physical act into a collective memory: a process that contributed to the formation of political and cultural memory. The recent rescue excavations conducted by the Hatay Archaeological Museum at the hinterland site of Toprakhisar Höyük in Altinözü (in the foothills above the Amuq valley) add to the understanding of the practice of foundation and termination rituals during the Middle Bronze Age and how these moments may have contributed to the political and cultural memory of a rural community living away from the centre. The practice of foundation/termination rituals is archaeologically documented by caches of artefacts from votive contexts stratigraphically linked to the construction and termination of a Middle Bronze Age administrative structure.