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Göynüş (former Köhnüş) Vadisi

Göynüş Valley, full of volcanic tuff rocks, extends in the north-south direction near Kayıhan town in the district of İhsaniye in Afyonkarahisar. The area was a Phrygian settlement and there are many rock tombs, façades, niches, and altars built on tuff rocks.

Maltaş (Malkaya) Monument
The monument is located on one of the Akkuşyuvası rocks, which borders the valley from the west. It is approximately 750 m south of the Aslantaş tomb. Maltaş is a shaft monument like Değirmen Yeri, Bahşayiş, and Deliklitaş monuments. Most of the monument is buried in the ground. In 1881 W. M. Ramsay found the monument almost completely covered with earth and with the help of workers he dug it out only to a certain level. Although the soil in front of the monument was removed during the excavations of Gabriel (1936), Haspels (1950) and Brixhe (1970), having encountered groundwater each time it was refilled with soil again to protect the monument from water damage. Finally, the entire monument was unearthed by the excavations started in 2021. During the excavations, remains of some buildings were found in the 300 square meter area opened in front of the monument.
There are two inscriptions (W‑05) on it. The first inscription is located on the outer edge of the left frame surrounding the façade wall. Upper part of this inscription is still visible today over the ground level. The second inscription is written from left to right on the upper frame of the niche section. Gabriel mentions a possible third inscription on the vertical wall of the threshold of the niche. However, there is no trace of it. With a depth of 9 meters, its shaft is the deepest of the Phrygian shaft monuments. The monument is dated to the first half of the 6th century BCE.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

Maltaş Monument, 1889 During the excavation in 1950 After the excavation in 2021 The second inscription became visible after the excavation. The first inscription Back side of the monument before the excavation. Maltaş Monument before the excavation. The shaft The shaft from the bottom

Köhnüş Kale
This Phrygian fortress is just across the Aslantaş tomb. There are rooms, stairs, and cisterns carved into the rock.

Haspels reports of four niches in the Göynüş Valley. Two of them are on the east side of the valley, one on the west side of Aslantaş rock tomb, and the other is 130 m east of it. The other two niches are on the rocks of Akkuşyuvası on the west side of the valley.

Niche 1 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 20, Haspels Fig. No: 526.6)
It is located at the easternmost end of the rocks called Arslankayalar, on the eastern edge of Göynüş Valley. The niche is on the lower left side of a Phrygian rock-cut tomb about 5 meters above ground level. There is a thick frame around the niche.

Niche 1 Niche 1 Niche 1

Niche 2 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 21, Haspels Fig. No: 526.4)
It is located to the right of Aslantaş tomb on the rocks of Arslankayalar. There is a Phrygian rock tomb just above the niche. Treasure hunters caused extensive damage by blowing out the back wall and almost all of the edges, apparently after 2006.

Niche 2 Niche 2 Niche 2

Niche 3 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 22, Haspels Fig. No: 526.7)
It is located on the Akkuşyuvası rocks at the western side of the Göynüş Valley.

Niche 3 Niche 3 Niche 3

Niche 4 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 23, Haspels Fig. No: 526.5)
It is located 25 m south of the Niche 3.

Niche 4 Niche 4 Niche 4

There are 4 altars detected in Göynüş Valley. One is on the rocks called Boncuk İnleri at the east side, and the other three are on the west side of the valley.

Altar 1 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 54; Tüfekçi-Sivas No: 1; Tamsü Cat. No: 42)
It was on the rocks called Boncuk İnleri, about 300 m north-northeast of Arslankayalar, discovered by Tüfekçi-Sivas in 1996. Unfotunately it was completely destroyed possibly in 2000. It had a single idol with 3 steps, and there were cylindrical reliefs on both sides resembling an animal body.

Altar 1 Altar 1 A semicircular idol is carved on the rock on the left. The stepped altar can be seen in front of the rock on the right.

Altar 2 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 56, Haspels Fig. No: 562.1 & 499.3)
It lies 150 m north of Niche 2. This monument may also be called a niche, or even a step monument built in a niche. Haspels describes it as a wide shallow recess that includes traces of steps. Although all of the steps have been almost completely destroyed, the Old Phrygian inscription (W‑04) at the top is still visible. The name of the mother goddess, Matarkubileya, can be read in the inscription.

Altar 2 Altar 2 Altar 2 Altar 2

Altar 3 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 57, Tamsü Cat. No:43, Haspels Fig. No: 499.1)
It is located on the rocks of Akkuşyuvası in the west side of the valley, just across the Yılantaş rock tomb. There are 3 steps with eroded surfaces and on the top step is a rectangular shaped base. Berndt-Ersöz believes that the top step is a semicircular disc shaped idol with bolsters on each side.

Altar 3 Altar 3 Altar 3

Altar 4 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 58-59, Tüfekçi-Sivas No:2; Tamsü Cat. No: 44)
It lies on a 3.5 m high rock mass standing alone, about 350 m north of the Maltaş monument. It has one idol and one step. On both sides of the idol are animal (possibly lion) reliefs. Their heads are broken from the neck. On the same rock mass, there is another semicircular shape on a single step about 2.5 m left (north) side.

Altar 4 Altar 4 Altar 4 Altar 4

Altar 5 (Berndt-Ersöz No: 60, Tamsü Cat. No: 45)
It is located 80 m west of the Maltaş monument. It has 5 steps. There is a "T" shaped slot a bit back above the top step.

Altar 5 Altar 5 Altar 5

Three single idols made in relief are on the side surface of a rather small rock. The idols are cut next to each other, with slightly overlapping bodies. The idol in the middle is the largest, and the two smaller flanking idols are equal in size. All three idols have disc shaped heads attached by a neck to a rectangular body. There seems to be hair depicted on each of them, as locks of hair can be seen at the sides of the heads.

Triple Idol Triple Idol

Rock-Cut Tombs
Göynüş Valley is one of the largest Phrygian necropoles. There are about 40 rock tombs. Two of them differ from the others with their monumental features; Aslantaş and Yılantaş Tombs.

Aslantaş is the most remarkable tomb in the valley. It is named due to the lion reliefs on the front. The height of the tomb rock is 11 meters from the ground. Both sides of the rock along with the front face have been flattened. The lion reliefs on the front face are depicted standing on their hind legs and facing each other. Between their legs, there are also two highly-eroded lion cubs facing each other. The entrance of the grave is between the lions. Although highly decorated façades are usually a late feature, on account of its small entrance, flat ceiling, and bedless chamber, the tomb is dated to an early period in the 8th century BCE. The roof of the rock-cut tomb was also processed and has some steps.

Aslantaş Tomb, 1889 The roof of the Aslantaş Tomb is at the right, Köhnüş Kale is beyond the road. The roof of the Aslantaş Tomb.

Yılantaş Tomb is located about 70 m west of Aslantaş. It was larger and more gorgeous than Aslantaş, but the rock on which it is located is destroyed (probably with an earthquake) and broken into pieces. Two lion claws touching each other appear on one of the pieces of the lion reliefs that were engraved on the outer surface of the rock. It is called Yılantaş (Snakestone) because these claws were taken as snake heads by the locals. The back and left side walls of the destroyed burial chamber are still visible on the bedrock. The right side wall with the large lion reliefs on its outer surface and the front face with the tomb entrance facing to the north have been demolished. There is only one burial chamber. On the pitched roof, beams were also carved in relief. There are two klinai, one in front of the rear wall and one on the right side wall. There is also a small third one on the right side wall close to the entrance. But it is more likely to be a seat due to it is size and the leg ornaments which are different from those on the two klinai. The triangular pediment of the pitched ceiling is visible at the back wall on the rock. There is a narrow elevated podium in front of the left side wall with a short column at each end. On the outer face of the tomb entrance, there are two warrior reliefs on both sides of the door. With their spears, helmets, and shields, they appear like guardians protecting the door. Between the warriors, at the top of the gate, there is also a relief of a gorgon head (snake-haired mythological entity). Although Haspels classifies this tomb in Group II (see Descriptions) which is dated to around the 6th century BCE, it may belong to an even later date due to its unique features.

Yılantaş Tomb, 1889

Berndt, D. 2019. 'Midas City in Phrygia: Small Horizontal Reliefs Between Idols and Step Monuments', in Phrygia in Antiquity: From the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period, ed. G. R. Tsetskhladze, Colloquia Antiqua 24, 501-524.
Berndt-Ersöz, S. 2006. Phrygian Rock-Cut Shrines. Structure, Function and Cult Practice, Leiden.
Berndt-Ersöz, S. 1998. 'Phrygian Rock-Cut Cult Façades: A Study of the Function of the So-Called Shaft Monuments', Anatolian Studies 48, 87–112.
Gabriel, A. 1952. Phrygie, exploration archéologique 2. La Cité de Midas: topographie, le site et les fouilles, Paris.
Haspels, C. H. E. 1971. The Highlands of Phrygia. Sites and Monuments, Princeton.
Işık, F. 1999. Doğa Ana Kubaba. Tanrıçaların Ege’de buluşması, Suna-İnan Kıraç Akdeniz Medeniyetleri Araştırma Enstitüsü Monografi Dizisi 1, Antalya.
Tüfekçi-Sivas, T. 1999. Eskişehir-Afyonkarahisar- Kütahya İl Sınırları İçindeki Phryg Kaya Anıtları, Anadolu Üniversitesi Yayınları No:1156, Eskişehir.
Tüfekçi-Sivas, T. & H. Sivas. 2009. Frig Vadileri (Frigler'den Türk Dönemine Uzanan Miras), T. C. Eskişehir Valiliği, Eskişehir.
Tamsü, R. 2004. Phryg Kaya Altarları, (Eskişehir- Afyon-Kütahya İlleri Yüzey Araştırması Işığında), Unpublished MA thesis, Anadolu Üniversitesi, Eskişehir
Ramsay, W. M. 1888. 'A study of Phrygian art (Part I)', JHS 9, 350–382.

Image sources:
W. M. Ramsay, 1888
Guillaume Berggren, 1889
C. H. E. Haspels, 1971
T. Tüfekçi-Sivas, 1999
S. Berndt-Ersöz, 2006
T. Tüfekçi-Sivas & H. Sivas, 2009
Afyonkarahisar İl Kültür ve Turizm Müdürlüğü
D. Berndt, 2019
Reha Özer, 2020
Ertuğrul Anıl, 2020, 2021
Bora Bilgin, 2020, 2021
Tayfun Bilgin, 2020, 2021