Photographic archive of excavations at Sakje Geuzi (Sakçagözü, Turkey)

Scope and Content

Negatives of photographs taken during John Garstang’s excavations of settlement mounds near the village of Sakje Geuzi (Sakçagözü, Turkey), 1908-1911. The images include pictures of the objects and structures discovered as well as groups of people on the site and the equipment they used.

Administrative / Biographical History

Through his friendship with orientalist Archibald Henry Sayce, Garstang became interested in the archaeology of the Hittite Empire, a Bronze Age people located in the region of Anatolia (mostly in what is now Turkey and Syria). During an exploratory survey of Hittite sites in 1907, Garstang visit a site near the village of Sakje Geuzi (Sakçagözü, Turkey) and had been urged to excavate the site by Osman Hamdi Bey, the founder and Curator of the Imperial Museum of Constantinople. The site comprised several artificial settlement mounds which were thought to be part of a Hittite settlement.

In order to gather evidence to campaign for a full scale excavation, Garstang, carried out a short experimental dig of the site in 1908 on behalf of the Institute. He was joined by Arthur Wilkins and photographer Horst Schliephack, and around 100 Turkish and Armenian excavators. Due to time restrictions, the team dug exploratory trenches in two of the mounds and partially excavated the smallest mound, ‘mound A’, which was known as Coba Höyük (written as ‘Jobba Eyuk’ by Garstang). The team discovered the remains of a Hittite fortification wall and decorated portico which had formed part of a temple or a palace, as well as evidence of other cultures dating from the Neolithic period.

On his Garstang’s return to Liverpool, the Institute formed the Hittite Excavation Committee to fund a second excavation of Sakje Geuzi. Garstang returned in 1911, joined by Wilkins and Schliephack as well as R Horsfall, Hamilton Beattie and W J Phythian Adams. At the suggestion of Robert Mond, a member of the Hittite Excavation Committee, the team also employed an aerial railway, built by R White and Sons of Widnes, to carry materials around the site. The team carried out a full scale excavation of Coba Höyük and discovered that wall and the portico formed part of a late Hittite palace complex as well as structures dating from the Neolithic period. They also excavated the largest mound, ‘mound B’, locally known as Songrus Höyük (written as Songrus Eyuk by Garstang). They discovered that the mound contained walls from different periods and had been occupied from the Copper Age to the Ottoman period.


The original order of the images has been retained. There are several references which have been written on the negatives. References such as 'H08 02' are believed to signify the negatives created during the 1908 excavation and the numbering system may reflect the order in which they were originally taken. Also it appears that all the negatives labelled ‘H11’ were taken during the second excavation of the site.

Access Information

The condition of the negatives is generally good, but a few damage negatives have been stored separately. The original damaged negatives can not be accessed by researchers.

Archivist's Note

This collection was catalogued in 2010 by interns who were digitizing the images for ‘The Lost Gallery: John Garstang and the Discovery of the Hittite World’ project funded by a ‘Your Heritage’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in August-September 2010. Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000. The collection was indexed by personal name using the National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997. The collection was indexed by place name using data from the GeoNames geographical database which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Conditions Governing Use

The 1905 annual report of the Institute of Archaeology records that Garstang transferred the rights of everything he collected to the Institute and therefore the majority of the original photographs are the copyright of the Garstang Museum. Many of the other negatives are no longer in copyright. It has been recorded under individual descriptions if there are any copyright restrictions. All the digital images are copyright of the University of Liverpool.

Related Material

Some of the negatives have additional references such as ’22 S1’ which are believed to refer to the original referencing system of the lantern slide collection.


The images from this collection were published in several excavation reports which appeared in the Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology:

  • Garstang, (1908), ‘Excavations at Sakje-Geuzi, in North Syria: Preliminary report for 1908’, Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, Vol. 1, pp97-117;
  • Garstang, (1912), ‘Second Interim Report on the Excavations at Sakje-Geuzi in north Syria, 1911’, Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, Vol. V, pp63-72;
  • Garstang, Phythian-Adams & Seton-Williams (1937) ‘Third Report on the Excavations at Sakje-Geuzi, 1908-1911’, Liverpool Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, Vol.24, pp119-140.

The images were also published in Garstang’s books on the Hittites:

  • Garstang, (1910), The land of the Hittites: an account of recent explorations and discoveries in Asia Minor, with descriptions of the Hittite monuments, (London, Constable);
  • Garstang (1929), The Hittite empire: being a survey of the history, geography and monuments of Hittite Asia Minor and Syria, (London, Constable).