The Hittite Empire (red) at the height of its power ca. 1290 BC, also showing the Egyptian Empire (green)
Beycesultan was occupied beginning in the Late Chalcolithic period. This large mound is almost 1 km in diameter and 25 m high.
The settlement increased in size and prominence through the 3rd millennium, with notable religious and civil buildings. Development peaked early in the 2nd millennium with the construction
of a massive palace and associated structures. The palace was abandoned
and then destroyed circa 1700 BC. To this point, the orientation
of Beycesultan was strongly influenced from the west, mainly the Aegean
After a few centuries of semi-abandonment, Beycesultan began to
rise again, this time more influenced by the Hittite regions of
Anatolia. Though smaller than the earlier city, the site was
of impressive size. This second flowering of Beycesultan was
completely destroyed circa 1200 BC as were many locations in
Anatolia at that time.
The site was also the occupied, to a lesser scale, in
the Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman period. It has been hypothesized that it is the Byzantine town and bishopry "Ilouza" (Ιλούζα), and possibly the Hittite Wilusa.
The site of Beycesultan consists of two mounds, divided by the old trading road. The maximum height of 25 meters is at the western mound and the entire site is around a kilometer in diameter.
In early 1950s James Mellaart discovered specimens of "champagne-glass" style pottery in a Late Bronze Age context near the site. A search identified the höyük (mound) of Beycesultan upstream of the Menderes river.
A renewed survey of the site and its region was conducted from 2002 to 2007 by Eşref Abay of the Ege University and new excavations at the site conducted under his direction beginning in 2007. Work continues to the
present in conjunction with Adnan Menderes University.
While no epigraphic material has been found as yet, a few seals have been recovered.
The early excavators reported "a row of small houses that had been destroyed by fire", with the champagne-glass pottery. There was also a palace "whose plan suggested ... Knossos", which was cleared out before its destruction:
At one entrance of the palace was a kind of bathroom, where visitors washed themselves before making their bows at court. One odd feature of the inner chambers: floors raised about a yard above the ground. Beneath the floors were small passages. They suggest air ducts of a heating system, but nothing of the sort is known to have existed until 1,000 years later.
Outside the palace,
Most interesting was a row of little shops. One was a Bronze Age pub with sunken vats for the wine supply and a lavish supply of glasses for serving the customers. It also had knucklebones, a gambling game that did the duty of a modern bar's chuck-a-luck.
^Jak Yakar, The Twin Shrines of Beycesultan, Anatolian Studies, vol. 24, pp. 151-161, 1974
^James Mellaart,The Second Millennium Chronology of Beycesultan,
Anatolian Studies, vol. 20, pp. 55-67, 1970
Seton Lloyd and James Mellaart, Beycesultan I. The Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Levels, Occasional Publication of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, no. 6, 1962
Seton Lloyd, Beycesultan II. Middle Bronze Age Architecture and Pottery, Occasional Publication of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, no. 8, 1962
James Mellaart and Ann Murray, Beycesultan III pt. 1. Late Bronze Age architecture, Occasional Publication of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1995, ISBN1-898249-06-7
James Mellaart and Ann Murray, Beycesultan III pt. 2. Late Bronze Age and Phrygian Pottery and Middle and Late Bronze Age Small Objects, Occasional Publication of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1995, ISBN1-898249-06-7