By Keerthi Chandrashekar ( | First Posted: Jul 31, 2012 01:58 PM EDT

A front view of the Suppiluliuma statue. (Photo : Jennifer Jackson)

A giant, intimidating statue has been discovered in the ruins of an ancient royal city in southeastern Turkey. Despite only the upper torso remaining, it still stands at an impressive 5-feet, and was found at the gates of the upper citadel of the ancient Neo-Hittite civilization of Patina's capital, Kunulua.

The researchers also uncovered a large, semi-circular column base with images of a sphinx and a winged bull carved into it. The results were the efforts of an international team at a Tayinat Archaeological Project excavation site.

The statue depicts a man with curly hair who is holding a spear and a sheath of wheat. The team estimates that at its full height, it probably stood around 11 to 13 feet. The inlaid eyes of the statue are made from white and black stone and an inscription on the back of the statue details the accomplishments of Patinean King Suppiluliuma.

"These newly discovered Tayinat sculptures are the product of a vibrant local Neo-Hittite sculptural tradition," said Professor Tim Harrison, the Tayinat Project director and professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the University of Toronto's Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations.

"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 BC."

The pieces have been dated to between 1000 B.C. and 738 B.C. This would have been around the time that the Neo-Hittite civilizations that arose from collapse of the Hittite empire in 1000 B.C. were entering the Iron Age from the Bronze Age.

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