A tablet inscribed in a "lost" language describes a "disaster" that struck four cities 3,300 years ago A tablet inscribed in a "lost" language describes a "disaster" that struck four cities 3,300 years ago

A tablet inscribed in a "lost" language describes a "disaster" that struck four cities 3,300 years ago

A tablet inscribed in a "lost" language describes a "disaster" that struck four cities 3,300 years ago

A 3,300-year-old clay tablet, discovered in 2023 in central Turkey, describes a "catastrophic" foreign invasion of the Hittite Empire, one of the powerful states of the Bronze Age.
Kimiyoshi Matsumura, an archaeologist at the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, found the small tablet in May last year in the Hittite ruins of Buklukale, located about 37 miles southeast of the Turkish capital, Ankara.

The tablet offers new insights into a darker chapter in the history of the Hittite Empire, which flourished in the present-day lands of Turkey, Syria and Iraq from 1650 BC to about 1200 BC.

Despite its importance, much about the Hittite Empire remains shrouded in mystery. This is mainly because its language was not deciphered until the early twentieth century, in the 1930s.

On the discovered tablet there are inscriptions in the Hittite and Hurrian languages ​​detailing the devastating invasion that took place in four Hittite cities during a turbulent period of civil war.

Scholars believe that the tablet was used in a religious ceremony, perhaps as a call for victory by the Hittite king.

Mark Weeden, assistant professor of ancient Middle Eastern languages ​​at University College London, translated the first six lines.

According to Weeden, the text says that four cities, including the capital, Hattusa, are in "disaster."

Meanwhile, the remaining 64 lines were a supplication in the Hurrian language asking for victory.


Scholars have indicated that the Hurrian language was most likely used in religious ceremonies by the Hittites. The tablet appears to be a record of a sacred ritual performed by a Hittite king.

“Finding the Hurrian tablet means that the religious rituals in Buklukale were performed by the Hittite king,” Weeden said in an email. “It indicates, at the very least, that the Hittite king came to Buklukali and performed the rituals.”

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