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Archaeologists discover previously unknown Indo-European language in Turkey

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Archaeologists conducting excavations at Boğazköy-Hattusha have discovered a previously unknown Indo-European language inscribed on a cuneiform tablet.

Hattusha was the capital of the Hittite Empire, an ancient Anatolian people who established an empire covering Anatolia, northern Levant, and Upper Mesopotamia.

At its peak, the city covered an area of 444 acres, consisting of an inner and outer precinct surrounded by a course of walls that protected a population of around 40,000 to 50,000 inhabitants.

Hattusa was destroyed along with the Hittite state around 1200 BC during the Bronze Age collapse, a period that saw the collapse of many major cities and civilisations throughout the Near East, Anatolia, the Aegean region, North Africa, the Caucasus, the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Archaeologists have been excavating Hattusha for more than 100 years, uncovering almost 30,000 clay tablets with cuneiform writing providing information Hittite history, their society, economy, and religious traditions.

Recent excavations have found a tablet containing a cultic ritual text written in Hittite in a hitherto unknown language. According to Professor Daniel Schwemer, head of the Chair of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Germany, the text refers to a language from the land of Kalašma, an area located on the northwestern edge of the Hittite heartland.

Professor Schwemer, said: “The Hittites were uniquely interested in recording rituals in foreign languages. Such ritual texts, written by scribes of the Hittites reflect various Anatolian, Syrian, and Mesopotamian traditions and linguistic milieus. The rituals provide valuable glimpses into the little known linguistic landscapes of Late Bronze Age Anatolia, where not just Hittite was spoken.”

Being written in a newly discovered language, the Kalasmaic text is as yet largely incomprehensible. Daniel Schwemer’s colleague, Professor Elisabeth Rieken (Philipps-Universität Marburg), a specialist in ancient Anatolian languages, has confirmed that the idiom belongs to the family of Anatolian-Indo-European languages.

University of Würzburg

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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