Excavations started with the intent of investigating the Neo-Hittite phases of occupation at Arslantepe and were first directed by the Hittitologist Meriggi. It was known from ancient Hititte texts that the site had been an important Neo-Hittite capital. The importance of the prehistoric and protohistoric levels at Arslantepe was soon discovered and research started to concentrate on those periods, revolutionising our knowledge of the phases of development of complex societies and primary states.
The research equipe is multidisciplinary and sees the participation of archaeologists, topographers, restorers, historians, geologists, anthropologists, botanists, zoologists, draftsmen, etc., coming from any different countries (Italy, Turkey, Germany, USA, Hungary, France).
The excavations have brought to light more than 3000 years of uninterrupted occupation at Arslantepe, of which the most important are those of the end of the IV millennium (periods VII and VIA), when Arslantepe was the capital of a primary state, and between the end of the II and beginning of the I millennium when it was capital of a Neo-Hittite reign.