ANTAKYA, Turkey, July 30 (UPI) -- An international archaeological team says it's unearthed a large, extraordinary human sculpture at an excavation site in southeast Turkey.
The figure was part of a monumental gate complex giving access to the upper citadel of Kunulua, the capital of the Neo-Hittite Kingdom of Patina, researchers said.
A large semi-circular column base, ornately decorated on one side, was also discovered at the Tayinat site and dated with the human figure to around 1000-738 B.C., they said.
"These newly discovered Tayinat sculptures are the product of a vibrant local Neo-Hittite sculptural tradition," project leader Tim Harrison of the University of Toronto said.
"They provide a vivid glimpse into the innovative character and sophistication of the Iron Age cultures that emerged in the eastern Mediterranean following the collapse of the great imperial powers of the Bronze Age at the end of the second millennium B.C."
The head and torso of the human figure, intact to its waist, stands about 5 feet tall, suggesting a total body length about 12 feet.
The column base is about 3 feet high and and 3 feet in diameter, the researchers said.
"The two pieces appear to have been ritually buried in the paved stone surface of the central passageway through the Tayinat gate complex," Harrison said in a University of Toronto release Monday.
The complex would have provided a monumental ceremonial approach to the upper citadel of the royal city, he said.