For the past six years, experts have been conducting excavations at the Hilar caves, an archeological site used as rock tombs centuries ago. The district governor of Ergani, Erdinç Yılmaz, visited the site together with the district governor of Dicle, Çağlayan Kaya, and Diyarbakır Museum Director Nevin Soyukaya. After his visit, Yılmaz said the caves were an important cultural asset as well as a center of habitation. He noted that excavations at the caves were ongoing and that 20 percent of archeological remains had been unearthed. He added that they would be able to work more effectively if they could transfer the rights of the site to the district governorship in order to take Hilar under protection.
Soyukaya stated that the caves had previously been used as a barn by peasants. “We, the museum, started work in 2006 in order to open Çayönü and Hilar to tourists. We presented our projects to the general provincial council and the special provincial administration for financial support. With their funds, we carried out excavations between 2006 and 2010,” she said.
Soyukaya stated that the Hilar caves were used as rock tombs for approximately 200 years from the first century B.C. in the Roman era. She noted that before the excavation, only three tombs had been unearthed but now, this figure had increased to 22. She explained that they had cleaned the tombs and arranged the site according to their original structures, also enabling better access to these tombs.
Now that their excavations were completed, they would now try to attract the interest of tourists to this site, she added.