ROCK TOMB ARCHITECTURE OF SOGMATAR NECROPOLIS

Yusuf ALBAYRAK

Sogmatar that is located within the borders of Sanlıurfa, is located in an area with important water resources in the Tektek Mountains. Known as a cult center on the Roman Period, Sogmatar was used as a necropolis area on the Early Bronze Age and Roman Period. The necropolis area in Soğmatar is on the south-facing foothills of the low rocky hill on the left at the entrance to the city. As a result of our excavation studies, 77 rock tombs were find out in the necropolis. These 77 tombs in the Necropolis are rock-cut chamber tombs that were opened on the Early Bronze Age and were continued to use by modifying in the Roman Period. All of the tombs in the Soğmatar necropolis were made by carving into the bed rock. The rock tombs were randomly placed on the land as close to each other as possible, without creating a specific plan. All of the tombs made on the Early Bronze Age is with shaft access and single room. While most of the tombs, which preserve the characteristics of the Early Bronze Age tomb architecture were built simply, 5 tombs are quite remarkable. In these 5 tombs, there are figures on the right and left of the entrance door, and altars on the opposite wall. The altars were built by carving the bed rock on the wall opposite the entrance door, in the middle of the wall. These rock tombs were changed on the Roman Period. During this change, the entrance in the form of a well was expanded to the south, the dromos, which is an open corridor with stairs, was added, the door providing the entrance to the tomb chamber was expanded, and wall cells called arcasolium, where the dead were laid, were added to the entrance and side walls of the tomb chamber. While the Early Bronze Age tombs were changed in the Roman period, we see that  some tombs were left unfinished during this change. Both Early Bronze Age features and Roman Age features are seen together in these tombs. Rock tombs with shaft access are rarely encountered in Anatolia and outside of Anatolia. Taking into account number redundancy, Sogmatar has a innumerous necropolis with rock tombs with shaft access on the Early Bronze Age.

Keywords: Sogmatar, Early Bronze Age, Roman Period, necropolis, rock tomb