Arslantepe Mound is an ancient tumulus located in Battalgazi district of Malatya, near Euphrates river. The mound is 30 meters (100 feet) high and is an Open Air Museum since 2011.
The history of the site dates back to Late Chalcolithic period (Copper Age); we know that the first settlement here was established around 5500 BC and was inhabited until 11th century AD, except for a period after the Assyrian invasion in 712 BC. Apart from the Hittites in the early ages, Romans ruled this town between 5th and 6th centuries AD, and finally became a Necropolis (graveyard) during the Byzantine period.
The first excavations in Arslantepe started in 1930's by French archaeologists. They unearthed the entrance gate decorated with reliefs on stone, two lion statues, a king statue and a late Hittite palace. These items can be seen at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara. Today, the excavations continue by a team of La Sapienza University of Rome, with their Turkish colleagues. During these excavations, a palace built in 3300-3000 BC using sun-dried bricks, a temple from 3600-3500 BC, an imperial tomb dated to 2900 BC with rich funeral gifts inside, thousands of seals, swords and daggers made of copper, long vases of terracotta, silver inlaid, and metal objects were found. These elaborate and rich findinds shows the importance of the site where the aristocracy lived.
Arslantepe Mound became one of the World Heritage sites of UNESCO in 2021.