By JILL REILLY
PUBLISHED: 11:34 EST, 1 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:15 EST, 1 August 2012
- Darren Joblonkay, 23, was digging at an archeological camp in southeastern Turkey he discovered the two-tonne statue of King Suppiluliuma
- Regal figure reigned over the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Patina in the 9th century B.C.
- The enormous sculpture which is preserved from the waist up stands almost 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall
- Alongside the statue, archaeologists found another carving, a semicircular column base bearing the images of a sphinx and a winged bull
Archeologists can spend a whole career exploring and never uncover a worthy find, but one luckystudent has discovered an archeological treasure chest and he is still only 23.
Darren Joblonkay was digging at an archeological camp in southeastern Turkey when discoveredan impressive 3,000-year-old statue of King Suppiluliuma.
The enormous sculpture which is preserved from the waist up stands almost 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, suggesting that its full height with legs would have been between 11 and 13 feet (3.5 to 4 m).
Discovery: Darren Joblonkay, 23, was digging at an archeological camp in southeastern Turkey he found the two-tonne statue of King Suppiluliuma laying face down in the dirt
WHAT DO THEY STATUES REPRESENT?
The presence of colossal human statues, often astride lions or sphinxes, in the citadel gateways of the Neo-Hittite royal cities of Iron Age Syro-Anatolia continued a Bronze Age Hittite tradition.
It accentuated their symbolic role as boundary zones, and the role of the king as the divinely appointed guardian or gate keeper of the community.
By the ninth and eighth centuries BC, these elaborately decorated gateways, with their ornately carved reliefs, had come to serve as dynastic parades, legitimizing the power of the ruling elite.
The gate reliefs also formed linear narratives, guiding their audiences between the human and divine realms, with the king serving as the link between the two worlds.
Source: University of Toronto
‘At first, we weren’t 100 per cent sure what it was,’ said Mr Joblonkay, a 23-year-old University of Toronto graduate student told theToronto Star.
The regal figure was found at what would have been a gate to the upper citadel of the capital, Kunulua.
The complex would have provided a monumental ceremonial approach to the upper citadel of the royal city.
Tayinat, a large low-lying mound, is located 35 kilometres east of Antakya (ancient Antioch) along the Antakya-Aleppo road.
Proud: Darren Joblonkay with the Tayinat statue he uncovered at an archeological camp in Turkey
Alongside the statue, archaeologists found another carving, a semicircular column base bearing the images of a sphinx and a winged bull.
More than 60 workers were drafted in to uncover the two-tonne statue of the man who reigned over the Neo-Hittite kingdom of Patina in the 9th century B.C.
After two weeks hard graft they finally unearthed the statue – the figure’s face is bearded, with beautifully preserved inlaid eyes made of white and black stone, and its hair has been coiffed in an elaborate series of curls aligned in linear rows.
The pieces have been dated to between 1000 B.C. and 738 B.C.
Unearthed: Alongside the statue, archaeologists found another carving, a semicircular column base bearing the images of a sphinx and a winged bull
‘These newly discovered Tayinat sculptures are the product of a vibrant local Neo-Hittite sculptural tradition,’ said Tim Harrison, professor of near eastern archeology at the University of Toronto and director of the Tayinat Archeological Project.
‘They provide a vivid glimpse into the innovative character and sophistication of the Iron Age cultures that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the great imperial powers of the Bronze Age at the end of the second millennium BC,’ he added.
This was the third of Mr Joblonkay’s four major archeological finds.
‘He’s very lucky,’ said Professor Tim Harrison.
On the king’s back the inscription reads: ‘I am Suppiluliuma.’
It is followed by a list of his accomplishments: taking land from eight neighbouring kingdoms, establishing a border, and building a monument to his father.
Mr Joblonkay is leaving Turkey on Sunday to start his PhD, but says he will return next summer to find out why the statue has spent three thousand years face down in the dirt.