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Aslankaya Monument

It is located 4 km southeast of the town of Döğer in the İhsaniye district of Afyonkarahisar. It was built on a single rock mass to the west of Döğer - Üçlerkayası road, about 1.3 km east of the Küçük Kapıkaya monument. The monument was discovered in 1884 by W. M. Ramsay. The side faces of the pointy rock block were cut and leveled. Relief of a lion on his hind legs facing towards the façade is engraved on the right side. On the left side is the depiction of a four-legged animal in a much smaller size than the lion. Due to damage it is difficult to identify the animal; different researchers describe it as a lion, griffon, or sphinx.
Two winged sphinxes are depicted symmetrically on both sides of the central pillar on the roof. When the monument was first discovered, an Old Phrygian inscription (W‑03) was visible on the main beam. Due to weathering, the inscription is no longer visible. The main façade under the roof is decorated with geometric patterns. Inside the niche on the left and right walls, there are the reliefs of two doors which give the appearance of two open door wings. The door shafts and the bolt on the right wing indicate that they were modeled like wooden doors. The high relief sculpture in the middle of the niche is most probably a mother goddess Matar depiction. There are lion reliefs on both sides of the mother goddess.
The reliefs made on tuff rock are cut off at the sandstone layer at the bottom of the monument. This layer, which is softer and less durable than tuff, has eroded over time, forming a horizontal hollow under the monument. In its current form, the monument remains 3 m high from the ground. According to Haspels, the lower part of the monument was left unfinished. Tüfekçi-Sivas propose that the eroded sandstone layer may have had, originally, a stair structure in front of the monument.
The monument has a special place among the Phrygian rock façades with its unique door design and rich reliefs. Unfortunately, the destruction done by treasure hunters is much more than the erosion caused by the weather. The relief of the mother goddess, right part of the niche frame, and part of the façade wall were damaged by blasting with dynamite.
The monument is dated to the mid-6th century BCE.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

Haspels, 1971 B. C. Coockson, 1993 T. Bilgin, 2020 B. Bilgin, 2020 T. Bilgin, 2020 B. Bilgin, 2020 E. Anıl, 2017 Haspels, 1971 B. Bilgin, 2020 B. Bilgin, 2020

Berndt-Ersöz, S. 2006. Phrygian Rock–Cut Shrines. Structure, Function and Cult Practice, Leiden.
Haspels, C. H. E. 1971. The Highlands of Phrygia. Sites and Monuments, Princeton.
Tüfekçi-Sivas, T. 1999. Eskişehir-Afyonkarahisar- Kütahya İl Sınırları İçindeki Phryg Kaya Anıtları, Anadolu Üniversitesi Yayınları No:1156, Eskişehir.

Image sources:
C. H. E. Haspels, 1971
Ben Claasz Coockson, 1993
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2017
Bora Bilgin, 2020
Tayfun Bilgin, 2020

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