Origin and Cultural Embedment of the “Stepped Monuments” of Central Anatolia

Lorenzo d'Alfonso


This lecture will take place online; a Zoom link will be provided via email to registered participants.

Registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/origin-and-cultural-embedment-of-stepped-monuments-of-central-anatolia-registration-121791655119

Anatolian step monuments are a typology of rock-carved landscape monuments spread on rocky hills and mountains of west-central Anatolia. They consist of a series of steps cut in the stone and, in some cases, an altar shaped as a stone seat with backrest. In some other cases, a platform is flattened on top of the steps, and in both cases they can count one or two carved, semi-lunate aniconic idols as well as a few Phrygian inscriptions engraved in the stone. Because of the regional spread, the presence of the idols, and above all the inscriptions in the Phrygian Alphabet, the Anatolian step monuments are considered one of the most genuine expressions of the Phrygian culture. So, are they? And if they are, what does it mean for these monuments to be Phrygian? The lecture aims at introducing  the public to this fascinating group of monuments while at the same time reconsidering their archaeological contexts, dating, and spread, in order to reflect on the questions of cultural identity and cultural appropriation already present in that early stages of human protohistory.

Lorenzo d'Alfonso is Professor of Western Asian Archaeology and History at ISAW. He earned his MA in Ancient Civilizations from the University of Pavia (1997) and his PhD in Ancient Anatolian and Aegean Studies from the University of Florence (2002). Since then he has worked as a post-doctoral fellow and adjunct professor at the Universities of Mainz, Konstanz, and Pavia. His main research interests concern the social, juridical, and political history of Syria and Anatolia under the Hittite Empire and during its aftermath (16th-7th centuries BC). On these themes he has published a monograph on the judicial procedures of the Hittite administration in Syria (2005), a website of textual references (The Emar Online Database), more than 30 articles in volumes and journals, and co-edited two volumes. From 2006 to 2009 he was the director of an archaeological survey in Southern Cappadocia, and since 2010 he has concentrated his efforts on the site of Kinik Höyük (Niğde, Turkey). Professor d'Alfonso began offering seminars in the spring of 2012.

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