Kilis (Turquie): Prophet Abraham's lost city found

Archaeologists trumpet the discovery of a lost city in Kilis that contains evidence that Prophet Abraham was once one of its residents. The province’s Oylum tumulus has also yielded coins from Alexander the Great


Researchers working in the area have discovered what they are terming a ‘lost city,’ where Prophet Abraham lived. They have also found silver coins from the treasure of Alexander the Great. AA photo

Once a sleepy area in one of the hottest areas in Turkey, the southeastern province of Kilis has gained prominence in recent months as it welcomes thousands of refugees from Syria’s civil war. Its appearance on the stage of history, however, is in keeping with the area’s importance in antiquity, as new archaeological excavations have revealed traces of Prophet Abraham’s stay in the vicinity, as well as a treasure from Alexander the Great.

Researchers working in the area have discovered what they are terming a “lost city,” according to the head of the excavation team, Cumhuriyet University Archaeology Department Associate Professor Atilla Engin.

“According to a papyrus document from the Iron Age, a lost city which we have found in the region is where the Prophet Abraham lived. It will make great contributions to the region and the country’s tourism. We have also found 134 silver coins in the treasure of Alexander the Great,” Engin said.

Significant kingdom

Speaking to members of the press, Engin said the area where they found the evidence and artifacts, the Oylum tumulus, was one of the most important and largest in the region, as it shed light on the history of the region.

“In terms of its size, the Oylum tumulus is one of the largest in Turkey, but more importantly, we are here because it was a significant kingdom in the Bronze Age. Cuneiform documents and seal stamps of Hittite kings obtained during three excavation seasons prove to us that this area was the center of a kingdom. We think that this place is the ancient city of Ullis. Documents from 3,000 B.C. show that this city was very important. But of course we need more documents and findings to prove it. We are still working on it,” he said. 

Ullis thought to have been in Mediterranean

Engin said Ullis was thought to have been located in the eastern Mediterranean, but their new discoveries show that the Oylum tumulus was the city of the ancient city. 

“The name of Ullis is mentioned in ancient Akat documents. It matches with the name mentioned in Hittite documents. In the papyrus documents, this city is said to be the city where the Prophet Abraham had lived. In the Ullis plain, there is a center, which is related to a name, Abraam, but this center was sought in the eastern Mediterranean. We have reached important information about it, too,” the academic said.

Engin said the city was the place where the Prophet Abraham had lived, according to a papyrus document from the Iron Age. 

“It will draw attention as a sensational finding and make great contributions to the region’s and the country’s tourism,” he said, noting that they had also reached the world’s oldest glass atelier in the excavations. 

Engin said the Kilis Museum had been established with pieces unearthed so far in the excavations, hinting that some of the new findings would also find their way into the museum. “Artifacts from the Bronze Age draw particular attention at the museum.”