Archaeology

5 ancient sites of the Hittite Empire

The Hittites were an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire centered onHattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC.

The Hittites were an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC.

This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I, when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia.

After c. 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse, splintering into several independent “Neo-Hittite” city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC.

1 – Hattusa

Hattusa was the capital city of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze age and lies near Boğazkale in Turkey where the earliest traces of settlement on the site are from the sixth millennium BC.

At its peak, modern estimates put the population of the city between 40,000-50,000, the city covered 1.8 km² and comprised an inner and outer portion, both surrounded by a massive and still visible course of walls erected during the reign of Suppiluliuma I (circa 1344–1322 BC).

The city was destroyed, together with the Hittite state itself, around 1200 BC, as part of the Bronze Age collapse. Excavations suggest that Hattusa was gradually abandoned over a period of several decades as the Hittite empire disintegrated.

2 – Alacahöyük

Alacahöyük is the location of a Hittite settlement, located in Alaca, Çorum Province, Turkey, northeast of Boğazkale. Occupation of the site first dates from the Chalcolithic era and through the early Bronze age where Alacahöyük was the center of a flourishing Hattian culture.

The distinguishing remains at Alacahöyük today, such as the “Sphinx Gate”, date from the Hittite period that followed the Hatti, from the fourteenth century BC. Alacahöyük also notably has a surviving dam, ordered by King Tudhaliya IV in the name of the goddess Hebat in response to a drought that struck Anatolia in 1200 BC according to ancient Hittite tablets.

3 – Sapinuwa

Sapinuwa was a Bronze Age Hittite city at the location of modern Ortaköy in the province Çorum in Turkey.

It was one of the major Hittite religious and administrative centres, a military base and an occasional residence of several Hittite kings.

4 – Azatiwataya

Azatiwataya, Karatepe (Turkish for “Black Hill”) is a late Hittite fortress and open-air museum in Osmaniye Province in southern Turkey lying at a distance of about 23 km from the district center of Kadirli.

It became an important Neo-Hittite center after the collapse of the Hittite Empire in the late 12th century BC.

5 – Kültepe

Kültepe is a multiphase archaeological site located in Kayseri Province in Turkey that the later Hittites called Neša, occasionally Anisa.

The location was inhabited continuously from the Chalcolithic period to Roman times, flourished as an important Hattic, Hittite and Hurrian city.  It is the site of discovery of the earliest traces of the Hittite language, and the earliest attestation of any Indo-European language, dated to the 20th century BC.

 

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