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Two sculptures of life-size lions, each weighing about 5 tons in antiquity, have been discovered in what is now Turkey, with archaeologists perplexed over what the granite cats were used for.
One idea is that the statues, created between 1400 and 1200 B.C., were meant to be part of a monument for a sacred water spring, the researchers said.
The lifelike lions were created by the Hittites who controlled a vast empire in the region at a time when the Asiatic lion roamed the foothills of Turkey
A search of the surrounding area revealed no evidence of a Hittite settlement dating back to the time of the statues. Also, the sheer size of the sculptures meant that the sculptors likely did not intend to move them very far.
Summers hypothesizes that, rather than being meant for a palace or a great city, the lions were being created for a monument to mark something else – water.
"I think it's highly likely that that monument was going to be associated with one of the very copious springs that are quite close," he said in the interview. "There are good parallels for associations of Hittite sculptural traditions with water sources."
To the Hittites the natural world, springs included, was a place of great religious importance, one worthy of monuments with giant lions. "These things (water sources) were sacred, just as their mountains were sacred," Summers said.
Originally posted by lostinspace
Doesn't that lion have a harness around its shoulders?
Maybe it's a cart pulling Hattian lion. Or it could just be a shaved lion mane.
I'm going to let you in on a deep, dark, archaeologist's secret. "Ritual Object" is often code for "We don't exactly know what it is because we can't figure out any practical use for it."
Originally posted by AMANNAMEDQUEST
Why does there have to be an assumption that there was any association with religion?