Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Illuminate the Demise of the Hittites

Related Articles

Related Articles

The political geography of Western Asia Minor at the end of the Bronze Age (ca. 1200 BCE) has finally been established.

The textbooks on the transcription of Luwian hieroglyphics will have to be rewritten.

Eight Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions each more than 3,000 years old have been published for the first time, thereby significantly increasing at one stroke the number of transmitted signs dating to the Bronze Age from this long-forgotten script.

 

The Swiss geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger and the Dutch linguist Fred Woudhuizen today published the documents in an online article made available by Talanta – Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society (https://luwianstudies.academia.edu/EZangger).

The documents were acquired in June 2017 from the estate of the English prehistorian James Mellaart (1925–2012). According to Mellaart’s notes, the inscriptions had been discovered in western Turkey back in the 19th century.

At the time, nobody could read the signs. Nevertheless, archaeologists produced careful drawings of the documents.

They were meant to be published in the course of an international research project that ran from 1956 to 1984, but ultimately all the participating scholars died before any such publication had appeared.

Among the documents is a 29-meter long, 30-cm tall limestone frieze that was found back in 1878 in the village of Beyköy, approximately 34 kilometers north of Afyonkarahisar in modern Turkey.

It is the longest thus far discovered document from Bronze Age Anatolia, and as such sheds more light on the use of the Luwian language and the hieroglyphic script, which was widespread for about 1,400 years.

The documents illuminate the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean, including the demise of the Hittite kingdom and the Sea Peoples’ invasions. A few hundred place names are listed in the inscriptions, making it possible to establish the political geography of western Asia Minor at around 1200 BCE. Scholars have been arguing about this for almost a century.

Luwian Studies

Header Image – The inscription from Edremit as first reported in 1878 (upper two rows) and the one from Yazılıtaş seen in 1854 (bottom row).

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Tenochtitlan – The Aztec Capital

Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec civilisation, situated on a raised islet in the western side of the shallow Lake Texcoco, which is now the historic part of present-day Mexico City.

Archipelago in Ancient Doggerland Survived Storegga Tsunami 8,000-Years-Ago

Doggerland, dubbed “Britain’s Atlantis” is a submerged landmass beneath what is now the North Sea, that once connected Britain to continental Europe.

Cereal, Olive & Vine Pollen Reveal Market Integration in Ancient Greece

In the field of economics, the concept of a market economy is largely considered a modern phenomenon.

The Annulment of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon at Dunstable Priory

The Priory Church of St Peter (Dunstable Priory) is the remaining nave of a former Augustinian priory church and monastery, that today is part of the Archdeaconry of Bedford, located within the Diocese of St Albans in the town of Dunstable, England.

Teōtīhuacān – Birthplace of the Gods

Teōtīhuacān, named by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs, and loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods" is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Teotihuacan Valley of the Free and Sovereign State of Mexico, in present-day Mexico.

Chetro Ketl – The Great House

Chetro Ketl is an archaeological site, and the ancient ruins of an Ancestral Puebloan settlement, located in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, United States of America.

The Gila Cliff Dwellings

The Gila Cliff Dwellings is an archaeological site, and ancient settlement constructed by the pueblos Mimbres branch of the Mogollon, located in southwest New Mexico of the United States of America.

Rare Cretaceous-Age Fossil Opens New Chapter in Story of Bird Evolution

A Cretaceous-age, crow-sized bird from Madagascar would have sliced its way through the air wielding a large, blade-like beak and offers important new insights on the evolution of face and beak shape in the Mesozoic forerunners of modern birds.

Popular stories

Teōtīhuacān – Birthplace of the Gods

Teōtīhuacān, named by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs, and loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods" is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Teotihuacan Valley of the Free and Sovereign State of Mexico, in present-day Mexico.

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.