World's first smiley discovered in Turkey

World's first smiley discovered in Turkey

The origins of smiley could be nearly 4,000-years-old after archaeologists in southeastern Turkey excavated a pot that bore the ubiquitous symbol, which today is one of the most frequently used emoticons online.

The roots of the symbol are widely believed to be from the early 1960s, with the classic smiley version bearing a bright yellow background said to have emerged in the early 1970s. However, the latest discovery in Turkey would now force a rethink of the origins of the symbol, versions of which have also been widely featured in several pieces of popular literature such as the graphic novel, The Watchmen.

The pot was discovered during seven-year long excavations in Gaziantep province’s Karkamis district along the Syria border under the guidance of Nicolo Marchetti, an archeology professor at the University of Bologno in Italy, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Marchetti said his team found a variety of objects at the site depicting the era of the Hittites, an ancient civilization and empire that is believed to have existed in the north-central Anatolian region.

“We have found a variety of cubes and urns. The most interesting of them is a pot belonging to 1700 BC that features an image of a ‘smile’ on it,” Marchetti said. "The pot was used for drinking sherbet [sweet drink]. Most probably, [this depicts] the oldest smile of the world".

The pot would be handed over to Gaziantep’s Archeology Museum, Marchetti said.

The excavations in Karkamis Ancient City are being carried out with participation from professors of Istanbul and Gaziantep University in Turkey.