A rich, 30-meter-high archaeological mound in southeastern Turkey dating back some 8,000 years has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The decision to add the Arslantepe Mound was taken during the Extended 44th UNESCO World Heritage Committee online session in Fuzhou, China, said a ministry statement.

Arslantepe – meaning “Lion Hill” – has been on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since 2014, the statement reiterated, calling it one of Turkey’s earliest religious and civil sites.

With the mound, the number of Turkish sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List reached 19.

The archaeological site of Arslantepe is located on the Malatya plain, five kilometers from the city center and 15 km from the Euphrates River, said UNESCO’s website.

“It is a 4 hectares and 30 m. high archaeological mound dominating the plain and formed by the superimposition of settlements for millennia, from at least the 6th millennium BCE to the late Roman period,” said UNESCO.

The long history of the site, located at the crossroads of the main civilizations of the Near East, reveals crucial events and processes of change in connection with the contemporary developments in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the South Caucasus.

More than 50 years of archaeological excavations by Rome’s Sapienza University have brought to light rich material remains of the many civilizations that called the site home, from their formation to their collapse, it added.

“This research has enlightened the millenarian history of the Upper Euphrates region and makes Arslantepe an exceptional testimony to crucial stages in the human history: the birth of hierarchical societies, that of the first centralized political and economic systems, the origin of bureaucracy and its first working system, the rise of a systematic control on human labour, in other words, the origin of power and the State,” said UNESCO.

“The site also testifies to the fact that these crucial changes in human history took place for the first time over a large area including, besides Mesopotamia, the Euphrates region in Eastern Anatolia.”

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