Hasankeyf is located in Batman province in Türkiye. It is a historical district separated by the Tigris. It was declared a natural protected area in 1981. As a result of the Ilısu Dam holding water, the historical settlement was flooded in May 2020.
Although it is not known exactly when Hasankeyf was founded, its history dates back to antiquity. Archaeological finds were found in the Hasankeyf mound from 3500 years to 12,000 years ago. The settlement was established on the passageway from Upper Mesopotamia to Anatolia and on the banks of the Tigris River, so it had a strategic importance.
When it was decided to build the Ilısu Dam, a new settlement was established 3 km away because the historical settlement would be flooded. Large scale structures such as the Artuklu Bath, Sultan Süleyman Koç Mosque, Imam Abdullah Zawiyah, Er-Rızık Mosque and its minaret, Zeynel Abidin Tomb, Eyyubi Mosque, castle entrance gate and historical buildings such as tombs and zawiyahs were moved to the Cultural Park established on the banks of the Tigris River. Yukarıkale, which was taken under protection, was protected from being flooded and damaged as a result of the works carried out.
With its 12 thousand years of history and uninterrupted life cycle since the Middle Ages, archaeological excavations continue in Hasankeyf Castle, one of the most important settlements in human history. This time, the first healing bowl used in the field of health and two zihgir (archer’s rings) were found.
During the excavations led by Prof. Dr. Zekai Erdal from Mardin Artuklu University (MAU), a healing bowl with talismans, seals and verses on it, which is estimated to have been used 800 years ago, and two zihgirs made of agate and bone used by archers were found.
The 3rd period excavations are still ongoing and important finds have been unearthed. The bowl, which was used in folk medicine in the medieval Islamic world, was made of bronze.
Excavation head Prof. Erdal told AA: “There is a scorpion and snake relief on the middle gate in Hasankeyf. According to local folk belief, it is accepted that scorpions or snakes do not sting Hasankeyf residents or people climbing the castle. On the bowl found, there are talisman, seal, verses, double-headed dragon, dog, snake and scorpion motifs. They believe that drinking water from the healing bowl protects the person against dog bites, snake and scorpion stings, or that someone who has been bitten will recover. In short, it is a material used to heal people who have been bitten by dogs, snakes and scorpions.”
Within the framework of the literature study, there are 22 healing bowls in museums and collections around the world. The artifact found in Hasankeyf became the 23rd.
“It is possible to see similar examples in Topkapı Palace Museum, Kayseri Museum and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Museum. Talisman and magic practices were practiced on the healing bowl to protect against the harm of animals.”
During the excavations, two zihgirs were found that had not been found in previous excavations. “One of the zihgirs was found during an excavation in a tomb. It is understood that the person in the grave was an important person, but his identity couldn’t be determined. The zihgirs are made of agate and bone. Zihgir is one of the most important items used in the Islamic world and Turkish Islamic arts in the Middle Ages, especially in archery. It is a ring shaped device worn on the finger to prevent the bowstring from damaging the finger during archery.
The artifacts were handed over to the Hasankeyf Museum Directorate after they were registered and documented.