Cuneiform Tablets Uncovered in 2,700-year Old Turkish Temple

August 12, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A team of archaeologists from the University of Toronto are sifting through the sands of time in the remains of an ancient Turkish temple, 2,700-years-old, that began as a holy Neo-Hittite site, named Tell Ta’yinat. Deep in the temple’s cella, or ‘holy of holies,’ the archaeologists made a discovery of a lifetime, uncovering a store of ancient cuneiform tablets, dating to the Iron Age period between 1200 and 600 BCE.

The Tell Ta’yinat site is located in the Hatay province of southeastern Turkey not far from the City of Antakya. The area has long served as an archaeological treasure trove of ancient history, since the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, discovered an ancient temple that mirrored the descriptions of King Solomon’s Temple in the Old Testament. Several palaces designed in the Bit-hilani style were also uncovered.

Numerous artifacts were found inscribed with the ancient languages of Luwian/Neo Hittite, Neo-Assyrian and Aramaic, which identifies the site as ancient Kunulua, the capital of the Neo-Hittite/Aramean kingdoms of Unqi and Patina.

Since 2004, The University of Toronto has continued excavations of the ancient site, uncovering additional sections of the Iron Age temple, as well as finding Bronze Age artifacts. The Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) includes the work of dozens of international universities and works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Turkey

The latest discoveries may shed some light on the violent history between the Hittites and the ancient Assyrians. The Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, known as the founder of the mighty Neo-Assyrian Empire, was one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering ancient Syria, Palestine and Babylonia.

The ancient cuneiform tablets found in the Turkish temple may help fill in the details of the conquest and sacking of Tell Ta’yinat by the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III in 738 BCE. Tablets found crushed into tiny shards, revealed hieroglyphic script in Luwian, an ancient Anatolian language of the Hittites.

Assyrian invaders, who transformed the region into an Assyrian religious complex, may have smashed the tablets. Scholars point to the reference to Calneh in Isaiah’s oracle against Assyria, as alluding to King Tiglath-pileser’s destruction of Tell Ta’yinat or Kunulua.

The Turkish temple was destroyed by fire sometime during that period of unrest, which helped preserve over the centuries; the ancient artifacts and cuneiform tablets unearthed by the archaeologists.

The University archaeologists also uncovered gold, bronze and iron implements, libation vessels and ornately decorated ritual objects from deep beneath the temple’s ancient foundation.



2 Responses to “Cuneiform Tablets Uncovered in 2,700-year Old Turkish Temple”

  1. Cuneiform Tablets Uncovered in 2700-year Old Turkish Temple … on August 12th, 2009 12:50 pm

    […] Cuneiform Tablets Uncovered in 2700-year Old Turkish Temple … Tags: ancient, business, cuneiform-tablets, curiosity, entertainment, reference, sports, technology, technorati, turkey, turkish-temple, university, world […]

  2. Vahag Kachaturian on August 21st, 2009 3:24 am

    That 2700 years old temple is in turkey, but it is not turkish temple
    Stop falsifications

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