Mystery over Turkish rock carvings might finally be solved - report

Researchers have said mysterious carvings at an ancient sanctuary in Turkey which have baffled archaeologists for years may actually depict a calendar, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

The intricate carvings on Yazlıkaya, a 3,200-year-old building that is thought to have played an important religious role in the capital city of the ancient Hittite Empire, have been a source of enduring mystery or years.

So much so that conspiracy theorists have posited that the ruins in today’s northern Anatolian province of Çorum are the work of aliens who came to Earth to mine gold but had to leave when the Antarctic glaciers melted, the New York Post said.

However, a new theory suggests, the relief carvings at the site in the old city of Hattusa, may have functioned as a calendar that was way ahead of its time.

“It’s not only a striking idea, it’s reasonable and possible,” the New York Post quoted researcher Juan Antonio Belmonte at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands as saying.

Some scientists say that despite years of studies, some key aspects of the carvings have been overlooked, the newspaper said.  The researchers argue that some faded deity carvings would make one of the depictions add up to the number of days in a lunar month.

According to Eberhard Zangger, president of Luwian Studies, an international non-profit foundation and his colleague Rita Gautschy from the University of Basel, one carving containing 12 deities depicts the months in a year and another containing 30 depicts the days in a month.

The researchers think that ancient people would have marked underneath the first of the 30 deities at the start of a month and then worked backward to keep track of time, the New York Post said.

The theory has received criticism, however, from others arguing that the number of deities alone corresponding to a calendar is not enough conclusive evidence to confirm the hypothesis.