Alacahöyük is located 45 kilometres south of Çorum and 17 kilometres northwest of the Alaca township. The Alacahöyük village is 34 kilometres away from Boğazköy and 210 kilometres away from Ankara.
This tumulus, or mound, was first introduced to the world of science by W.C. Hamilton in 1835 and after that time, it became a place frequently visited by scientists who came to Central Anatolia. In 1861, G. Perrot stopped by this tumulus and discovered the plan of the square tower on the left and right of the door as well as one of the orthostats. After this study, Perrot became the first to argue that these reliefs belonged to the Hittite period.
The ritual symbol
W. Ramsey, who made great contributions to Anatolia's historical geography, studied the tumulus together with Wilson in 1881, and found a few other reliefs. In 1893, E. Chantre came to the tumulus and found the square corridors among the sphinx, the second door at the end and the door frames. Chantre took the plaster casts of these reliefs and by judging from their themes, Chantre claimed that this could be the door of a temple, rather than a palace. Chantre studied the lions on the south of the door with the sphinx and believed that the inscription found on one of these doors was Phrygian writing. Later H. Winckler, who had been working in Boğazköy since 1906, decided to start a search in the tumulus following the invitation of Makridi Bey and the Istanbul Archaeology Museum Director Halil Ethem Bey. In 1907, Makridi Bey worked for 15 days at the door with the sphinx and discovered a few new orthostats in front of the door. After drilling a few places in the tumulus, he saw the poterni (entrance) on the northern edge of the tumulus and he compared this to the poterni in Boğazköy. The first systematic excavations of the tumulus were started by Atatürk in the Republican era. Hamit Zübeyr Koşay, Remzi Oğuz Arik and Mahmut Akok from the Turkish History Institution began excavations in 1935 which lasted until 1983. The excavations were interrupted in 1997, but soon recommenced under the instructions of Professor Aykut Çınaroğlu.