The finds from the excavations ot Alacahöyük are representative of the Early Bronze Age period in Anatolia. The Middle Bronze Age Is documented at the site of Kültepe, and the Late Bronze Age at the Hittite capital, Hattusas or Boğazköy. Alacahöyük is believed to have been the 4th-century site of the city of Kussara. occupied by the Hittites, using if as their first capital before moving over to Hattusas at the end of the third millenium B.C. This has not been well established, however. The information thus far gleaned from the site has been from the group of thirteen ceremonial burials that were uncovered there, the Royal Graves of Alacahöyük. This site was an important center as early as the Chalcoiithic Age.
The first excavations carried out at Alacahöyük were started in 1861 by a French archeaologist, Georges Perrot. More extensive work was initiated by the Turkish Historical Association in 1935 and continued until 1948. While excavating in the deeper levels of the city-mound at Alacahöyük, the group of graves was found by Turkish archaeologists. They are thought Jo be of a local ruling family of the Early Bronze tl period, buried among the paraphernalia of their funerary ceremonies and accompanied by their private possessions. The interments had been made over a period of several generations. Some af the graves contained single burials, while others held the remains of bath a man and a woman buried on separate occassions. In the graves, the men were buried with their weapons and women with jewelry, ornaments and toiletries. Both were accompanied by utensils and eating vessels that were made of precious metals. An extraordinary find was a dagger in the shape of a crescent, made entirely for iron. This metal, very rarely used during this early period, was likely to have been much more valuable than gold, A large assortment of funerary objects was found in the graves including the bronze “sun-disks” and standards that were likely used at the top of a pole in the funeral procession or on canopy-stakes at the burial spot. Many of these standards were uncovered in the graves, They are open-work grills, often adorned with anima! figures, Others were simply representations of animals mounted on a base, such as the well-known Hlttite stag. These were made of bronze and Inlaid with sliver.
The graves themselves at Alacahoyuk were in the form of rectangular pits, as large as twenty feet long and ten feet wide in several coses. The tombs Were lined with o wall of rough stone and covered with a lid of wooden beams. On top of the wood were placed the skulls and hooves of cattle, which had apparently remained attached to the hides; it is assumed that the carcases of the animals were eaten during the funeral feast. Wooden furniture and other perishable articles are thought to have been placed in the graves with the bodies.