Where in the World?

Üçağızlı I cave is located in the Hatay region of south-central Turkey, not far from the city of Antakya (ancient Antioch). Although this region is part of the modern state of Turkey, the Hatay represents the northernmost extension of the coastal Levantine ecological province.


The cave is situated in a very steep, rugged coastal area just south of the delta of the Orontes river. The top of the archaeological deposits sits about 18 meters above today's sea level. During the coldest parts of the Late Pleistocene, sea levels would have been considerably lower, and the site would have been farther from the marine shore. Because the topography around Üçagizli I cave is so steep, however, the site was never very far from the sea.


Üçağızlı I is a collapsed remnant of what must have been a much larger cave chamber. The coastal cliffs around Üçağızlı I cave contain the remnants of many other large collapsed caves, some of which preserve archaeological deposits (Nearby Sites)..It is possible that the collapse of these features dates to one of the massive earthquakes that struck the region during the last 2000 years.


Intact archaeological deposits at Üçağızlı I are preserved in the northern part of the site, mainly along what was formerly the back wall of the cave and in a tubular chamber to the south. Previous excavations by Minzoni-Deroche were concentrated in the southern tubular chamber. The current project focuses on the northern part of the site (Site Map). A much smaller chamber to the east contains beach sediments left by the sea when it was higher than today, probably during the last major interglacial period (Oxygen Isotope stage 5).


Small pockets sediment full of bones and artifacts are cemented high on the back walls. These residual pockets indicate that at least 3 meters of Upper Paleolithic and Epipaleolithic archaeological deposits were lost when the cave collapsed. Still, approximately three meters of intact Early Upper Paleolithic deposits are preserved in the northern part of the site. A schematic stratigraphic sequence shows the various layers B though I.


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Regional Satellite Imagery


Political Map of Turkey



Orontes River Delta


Üçagizli Cave


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