Yener, K. Aslihan 1946-

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Yener, K. Aslihan 1946-


Born July 21, 1946, in Istanbul, Turkey; immigrated to the United States, c. 1952. Education: Robert College (now Bosphorus University), Istanbul, Turkey, B.A., 1969; Columbia University, M.A., 1976, M.Phil., 1977, Ph.D., 1980.


Office—Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, 1155 E. 58th St., 230, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail—[email protected].


Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, associate professor of Near Eastern archeology, 1993—. Amuq Valley Regional Projects, Turkey, director.


The Domestication of Metals: The Rise of Complex Metal Industries in Anatolia, Brill (Boston, MA), 2000.

(Editor, with Harry A. Hoffner, Jr., and Simrit Dhesi) Recent Developments in Hittite Archaeology and History: Papers in Memory of Hans G. Guterbock, Eisenbrauns (Winona Lake, IN), 2002.


Archaeologist K. Aslihan Yener was born in Turkey and moved to the United States at the age of six. Her parents settled in New Rochelle, New York, and Yener studied chemistry at Adelphi University in New Jersey before transferring to Robert College in Turkey. Her concentration in art history led to her interest in archeology, and she changed her major and returned to the United States to attend graduate school.

Yener's background in chemistry came into play when she began investigating the origins of silver objects that had been created from metals mined in the Taurus Mountains in Anatolia, Turkey, during prehistoric times. She then studied tin mined during the Bronze Age and, in 1982, found evidence of tin in the Taurus Mountains. It has been presumed that the metal, which is used with copper to make bronze, had been imported into the region. Collaborating with the Turkish Geological Research and Survey Directorate, Yener discovered the Kestel mine, the approximately two miles of ancient mining tunnels which are so small, it is assumed that children were sent in to recover the metal. Graves of small children were discovered, verifying this assumption. In 1989 on a nearby site, Bronze Age pottery and stone tools were found. The site named Göltepe had been home to up to a thousand people from approximately 3,290 B.C. to 1,840 B.C.

In 1993 Yener became affiliated with the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The Oriental Institute's Robert Braidwood had excavated the Amuq Valley, also called the plain of Antioch, in Turkey in 1930. Yener and a team revisited that site with the goal of investigating the history of metals there and how the region, during the Bronze Age called Mukish, was integrated into the Hittite empire. Yener returned to the Tell Kurdu site explored by Braidwood, dated as being from the Chalcolithic Period—approximately 4,800 B.C. In The Domestication of Metals: The Rise of Complex Metal Industries in Anatolia, Yener explains the history of metallurgy of the region using fifty years of models.



Young, Lisa, Twentieth Century Women Scientists, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1996.


Netherlands Institute in Turkey Web site, (October 25, 2006), "The Tell Kurdu Project."

Oriental Institute Web site, (October 25, 2006).

University of Chicago Chronicle Online, (April 15, 1999), William Harms, "O.I. Archaeologist Continues to Dig at Turkish Site Rich in Antiquity in Amuq Valley."

University of Chicago Department of Humanities Web site, (October 25, 2006), brief biography of Yener.

Wired News, (August 30, 1999), Ayla Jean Yackley, "X-raying to See the Past."