A Newly Discovered Hittite City

Last night I watched A New Iron Age Kingdom in Anatolia, as part of the class I am currently taking a class on the Languages and Writing Systems of Anatolia. The lecture was about the archaelogy of Türkmen-Karahöyük, a mound in the Konya plain of what is now Turkey. The OI is leading the Türkmen-Karahöyük Intensive Survey Project (TISP), which is part of the Konya Regional Archaeological Survey Project (KRASP). TISP is a surface survey, a necessary first step at an archaeological site. However, it has already yielded significant results.

Occupation of the site goes back to the late Chalcolithic, but it really grew in the late Bronze Age, becoming almost as large as Hattusa (near modern Boğazkale), the capital of the Hittite Empire. The site may be the previously undiscovered Hittite city of Tarḫuntašša. Türkmen-Karahöyük continued to be a major site in the Iron age, down to about 600 BCE.

A local farmer led archaeologists to an inscribed stone block in an irrigation canal about 600m from the mound. This Luwian Hieroglyphic inscription, now known as the Hartapu Stele reports the victory of the Great King Hartapu (or Kartapu), son of Mursili, over the land of Muska (Phrygia). Details about the inscription, and its decipherment, can be found in TÜRKMEN-KARAHÖYÜK 1:a new Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription from Great King Hartapu, son of Mursili, conqueror of Phrygia-2020.

Hartapu had been know previously from inscriptions at Kızıldağ and Karadağ. Goedegebuure et al. argue Hartapu and his inscriptions date from the 8th century BCE, well into the Iron Age. However, his father’s was name Mursili, recalling the emperors at Hattusa from four centuries earlier.

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