Would you ever have imagined the smiley face you painted as a child would surface on a 3 700-year-old jug? This ancient smiley face might just be one of the coolest discoveries this year.
A team of archaeologists from Turkey and Italy discovered the ancient smiley face while working at the site of the ancient city of Karkemish. Initially nobody took notice of the smiley face. The jug was transported to a laboratory to be restored and it was only here that the odd symbol was noticed.
“The smiling face is undoubtedly there (there are no other traces of painting on the flask) and has no parallels in ancient ceramic art of the area,” Dr Nicolò Marchetti of Bologna University, who led the excavation, told The Independent.
The jug, with its short thin neck, rounded base and small handle is said to originally have been an off-white colour. Jugs like this one are often found in burial chambers, where they are left filled with a sweet sherbet-like drink.
The city of Karkemish (also known as Carchemish) was inhabited from the 6000 B.C. until the late Middle Ages, when it was abandoned. The city’s remains were first discovered and excavated in the late 19th century. The History Blog writes that some of the notable archaeologist who participated in digs here, include T. E. Lawrence, Leonard Woolley, Gertrude Bell.
Although the city has been the subject of many excavations for more than a last century, it is believed the site still has a lot to reveal. For this reason a joint expedition between the Universities of Bologna, Gaziantep, Istanbul and Yeditepe, along with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism was established in 2011. The team has been excavating at the site ever since and only discovered the pot in May this year.
But the ancient smiley face wasn’t the team’s only big find. Some 250 clay tokens called bullae ad a pair of rampant griffons were also discovered.
Bullae tokens are impressed with seals and would have been attached to official documentation, granting them authenticity. The seals were found in the site’s late Bronze Age layer and dates back to the Hittite Empire of 13 B.C. The griffons were found in the same area as the bullae and were carved during 10 B.C., during the reign of the Neo-Hittite king Katuwa.
Image credit: Turco-Italian Archaeological Expedition at Karkemish