3,000-Year-Old Road, Drainage Pipe Unearthed in China

3,000-Year-Old Road, Drainage Pipe Unearthed in China

Relics of drainage pipe, road and rut remains have been found in the ruins of Haojing, an ancient capital city dating back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 B.C.-771 B.C.), according to the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology.

The drainage pipe was uncovered in the foundation of the No. 14 building on its central-south edge, which was excavated between 2019 and 2020, the institute said on Wednesday.

Over 3 meters long, the pipe ruins are made of four round earthenware pipes with a diameter of about 25 centimetres, providing physical materials for further studies on the drainage system of the No. 14 building.

Drainage pipe, ancient road unearthed in Xi'an city
Drainage pipe, ancient road unearthed in Xi’an city

Meanwhile, an ancient road with a rut of about 12 meters long was also discovered in the recent excavation. About 1.4 meters below the existing surface, the road extends about 30 meters from west to east with a width of about 6 meters.

The vehicle rut is about 12 meters long and 8 centimetres in depth. It is the first time for the archaeologists to find such road and track remains at the site, said the institute.

READ ALSO: ANCIENT WALLS OF BENIN WERE FOUR TIMES LONGER THAN THE WALLS OF CHINA

The No. 14 foundation site, which covers more than 1,800 square meters, is believed to have been used in the middle to late Western Zhou Dynasty period and is of great importance for further research on the architecture functions, construction techniques and the capital layout of the dynasty.

Haojing site, where the capital city of the Western Zhou Dynasty was located, was excavated in the current city of Xi’an, the capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

The ancient ruins have a total area of around 920 hectares

Traces of Medieval Madrassa Uncovered in Turkey

Traces of Medieval Madrassa Uncovered in Turkey

The ruins of a 12th-century madrassa (Islamic school) have been discovered in Turkey’s southeast, one of the world’s oldest settlements on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, said the archaeologist leading the dig.

Excavation work has been going on for eight years in the Harran settlement in the Sanliurfa province, Mehmet Onal, head of the Archeology Department at Harran University, told Anadolu Agency.

Harran, a onetime Assyrian and Umayyad capital located 44 kilometres (27 miles) southeast of the city of Sanliurfa near the Syrian border, was an important Mesopotamian trade centre on a road running south to Nineveh in modern Iraq and has been continuously inhabited since 6,000 B.C.

Saying that Harran is frequently mentioned in history books because it is one of the world’s oldest settlements, Onal added that during 2021 excavations, they found important remains such as a street, a monumental gate, and a madrassa.

Monumental find

“During the excavations, a madrassa was found, which we have determined with archaeological evidence that it belongs to the Zengid era,” said Onal.

“Previously, it was known that Harran had five madrassas. This was the first time we came across one of these known madrassas of Harran.”

He said they have determined the structure had 24 rooms above ground, and have now completely exposed the monumental door of the madrassa with five rooms, and the portico partially, adding that there is also a kitchen next to those rooms with large stoves and a brick and clay oven.

“Another feature of the kitchen is there are many bones of sheep and goats inside the hearths and ovens. This shows us that food was prepared here and people here left the city in a rush, leaving the food on the stove without being eaten as if thoroughly convinced that Mongols would take over the city.”

Onal said that they determined that the madrasa belongs to the 12th century and that they will learn more after excavations in the region are completed.

World’s first university

Cihat Koc, a local official in Harran, said the history of education in Harran dates back to 3,000 B.C., adding that studies were carried out in such fields as astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and theology.

Harran is a place that pioneered the science and scientific education, Koc said, adding: “With our work this year, we have unearthed the first of the five big madrassas, five big university campuses.

“The world’s first university is at Harran. We are seriously working to uncover all the ruins of this university,” he underlined.

The first excavations in Harran began in 1950.

The site has been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 2000.

READ ALSO: ARCHAEOLOGISTS IDENTIFY THE OLDEST MUSLIM GRAVES EVER FOUND IN EUROPE

Harran is an important ancient city where trade routes from Iskenderun to Antakya (ancient Antioch) and Kargam were located, according to UNESCO’s website.

“The city is mentioned in the Holy Bible,” says the website.

“It is important not only for hosting early civilizations but it is the place where the first Islamic university was founded. The traditional civil architecture, mudbrick houses with conic roofs, are unique.”

Origins of Japanese and Turkish language families traced back 9000 years

Origins of Japanese and Turkish language family traced back 9000 years

A study combining linguistic, genetic and archaeological evidence has traced the origins of the family of languages including modern Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Mongolian and the people who speak them to millet farmers who inhabited a region in northeastern China about 9,000 years ago.

The findings detailed on Wednesday document a shared genetic ancestry for the hundreds of millions of people who speak what the researchers call Transeurasian languages across an area stretching more than 8,000 km.

The findings illustrate how humankind’s embrace of agriculture following the Ice Age powered the dispersal of some of the world’s major language families. Millet was an important early crop as hunter-gatherers transitioned to an agricultural lifestyle.

Origins of Japanese and Turkish language family traced back 9000 years
A woman carrying millet, a crop whose cultivation prompted the spread of the proto-Transeurasian language

There are 98 Transeurasian languages. Among these are Korean and Japanese as well as: various Turkic languages including Turkish in parts of Europe, Anatolia, Central Asia and Siberia; various Mongolic languages including Mongolian in Central and Northeast Asia; and various Tungusic languages in Manchuria and Siberia.

This language family’s beginnings were traced to Neolithic millet farmers in the Liao River valley, an area encompassing parts of the Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin and the region of Inner Mongolia.

As these farmers moved across northeastern Asia, the descendant languages spread north and west into Siberia and the steppes and east into the Korean peninsula and over the sea to the Japanese archipelago over thousands of years. The research underscored the complex beginnings for modern populations and cultures.

“Accepting that the roots of one’s language, culture or people lie beyond the present national boundaries is a kind of surrender of identity, which some people are not yet prepared to make,” said comparative linguist Martine Robbeets, leader of the Archaeolinguistic Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.

“Powerful nations such as Japan, Korea and China are often pictured as representing one language, one culture and one genetic profile. But a truth that makes people with nationalist agendas uncomfortable is that all languages, cultures and humans, including those in Asia, are mixed,” Robbeets added.

The researchers devised a dataset of vocabulary concepts for the 98 languages, identified a core of inherited words related to agriculture and fashioned a language family tree.

Archaeologist and study co-author Mark Hudson of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History said the researchers examined data from 255 archaeological sites in China, Japan, the Korean peninsula and the Russian Far East, assessing similarities in artefacts including pottery, stone tools and plant and animal remains. They also factored in the dates of 269 ancient crop remains from various sites.

The researchers determined that farmers in northeastern China eventually supplemented millet with rice and wheat, an agricultural package that was transmitted when these populations spread to the Korean peninsula by about 1300 BC and from there to Japan after about 1000 BC.

The researchers performed genomic analyses on the ancient remains of 23 people and examined existing data on others who lived in North and East Asia as long as 9,500 years ago. For example, a woman’s remains found in Yokchido in South Korea had 95% ancestry from Japan’s ancient Jomon people, indicating her recent ancestors had migrated over the sea.

“It is surprising to see that ancient Koreans reflect Jomon ancestry, which so far had only been detected in Japan,” Robbeets said. The origins of modern Chinese languages arose independently, though in a similar fashion with millet also involved.

While the progenitors of the Transeurasian languages grew broomcorn millet in the Liao River valley, the originators of the Sino-Tibetan language family farmed foxtail millet at roughly the same time in China’s Yellow River region, paving the way for a separate language dispersal, Robbeets said.

A 3-foot-long mammoth tusk hidden on the ocean floor could offer clues about the ancient creatures

A 3-foot-long mammoth tusk hidden on the ocean floor could offer clues about the ancient creatures

Scientists have confirmed that an ‘ancient’ tusk recovered 10,000 feet below the ocean surface does belong to a young mammoth. A team of researchers from UC Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the University of Michigan were traversing the seafloor about 185 miles off the California coast, near Monterey in 2019, when they spotted what looked like an elephant’s tusk and picked up a small fragment.

Members of the science team at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute observe the mammoth tusk.

They returned in July 2021 to get the entire specimen and after further examination, they have determined the three-foot-long tusk, ‘uniquely’ preserved by the cold, high-pressure environment of the deep sea, belongs to a Columbian mammoth.

At this time, it’s unclear how old the tusk is, but Dr Terrence Blackburn, a researcher at UC Santa Cruz, told the New York Times it could be more than 100,000 years old. Blackburn’s lab is analyzing the tusk using CT scans, a method that will not only reveal the animal’s age but the full three-dimensional internal structure of the tusk and other information as well.

The tusk was first spotted about 185 miles off the California coast, near Monterey in 2019

‘Specimens like this present a rare opportunity to paint a picture both of an animal that used to be alive and of the environment in which it lived,’ UC Santa Cruz professor Beth Shapiro said in a statement. 

‘Mammoth remains from continental North America are particularly rare, and so we expect that DNA from this tusk will go far to refine what we know about mammoths in this part of the world.’ 

It’s likely that the tusk belonged to a young female mammoth, the Times reported, as Katherine Moon, a postdoctoral researcher in Shapiro’s lab, took DNA evidence from the tip that was first discovered in 2019.

At this point, researchers are unsure how the tusk made its way to the bottom of the ocean floor, even though the animal died on land. The tusk was initially retrieved by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Doc Ricketts.

When the researchers went back to the tusk in July, they attached household sponges and plastic fingers to the end of the ROV’s arms to make it easier to pick up.

They also took photos and videos to create a 3-D model in case it broke during recovery.

‘You start to ‘expect the unexpected when exploring the deep sea, but I’m still stunned that we came upon the ancient tusk of a mammoth,’ senior scientist Steven Haddock said in the statement. 

‘We are grateful to have a multidisciplinary team analyzing this remarkable specimen, including a geochronologist, oceanographers, and paleogenomicists from UCSC and palaeontologists at the University of Michigan. 

‘Our work examining this exciting discovery is just beginning and we look forward to sharing more information in the future.’ 

A 3-foot-long mammoth tusk hidden on the ocean floor could offer clues about the ancient creatures
It’s unclear how old the tusk is, but it could be more than 100,000 years old

Mammoth tusks over 100,000 years old are ‘extremely rare,’ Dick Mol, a palaeontologist with the Historyland museum, told the Times.  However, the tusk was covered in a thick layer of iron-manganese crust, which is abundant in the deep sea and likely suggests it has been there for at least a few thousand years.

Approximately 200,00 years ago, the Earth went through a glacial period, with mankind’s ancestors migrating from Africa. It’s possible the mammoths also migrated out of Africa, but it’s unclear how they arrived.  

‘We don’t really know much of anything about what was happening during that time period,’ University of Michigan palaeontologist Daniel Fisher told the Times. 

‘We don’t have access to a lot of specimens from this time period and that’s due in large part to the fact that getting access to sediments of this age is difficult.’  

‘This specimen’s deep-sea preservational environment is different from almost anything we have seen elsewhere,’ added Fisher, who specializes in the study of mammoths and mastodons, in the statement. 

‘Other mammoths have been retrieved from oceans, but generally not from depths of more than a few tens of meters.’  

READ ALSO: HUMANS DID NOT CAUSE WOOLLY MAMMOTHS TO GO EXTINCT, CLIMATE CHANGE DID

Nonetheless, the researchers are excited by the discovery and the possibilities it brings as it pertains to learning more about the age of the animal and how it lived.     

‘We’re all incredibly excited,’ Moon told the Times. ‘This is an Indiana Jones mixed with Jurassic Park moment.’ 

Lesser known than their famous ancestors, the woolly mammoths (pictured), Columbian mammoths were created after woolly mammoths bred with Krestovka mammoths in North America

Lesser known than their famous ancestors, the woolly mammoths, Columbian mammoths were created after woolly mammoths bred with Krestovka mammoths in North America. It’s unclear when they first appeared on Earth, but a study published in February suggested the ‘hybridization … took place approximately 420,000 years ago.’

Around one million years ago there were no woolly or Columbian mammoths, as they had not yet evolved. Roughly half of the Columbian mammoth’s genome came from the Krestovka mammoth and the other half from the woolly mammoth. 

Intact DNA from a 7,200-year-old Woman reveals Unknown Human lineage

Intact DNA from a 7,200-year-old Woman reveals Unknown Human lineage

Archaeologists have discovered ancient DNA in the remains of a woman who died 7,200 years ago in Indonesia, a find that challenges what was previously known about the migration of early humans.

Intact DNA from a 7,200-year-old Woman reveals Unknown Human lineage
The skeletal remains of the ancient Toalean woman were found nestled among large rocks in a burial pit in Indonesia’s Leang Panninge cave.

The remains, belonging to a teenager nicknamed Bessé, were discovered in the Leang Panninge cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Initial excavations were undertaken in 2015.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature, is believed to be the first time ancient human DNA has been discovered in Wallacea, the vast chain of islands and atolls in the ocean between mainland Asia and Australia.

The DNA was extracted from the petrous part of Bessé’s temporal bone, which houses the inner ear.

Griffith University’s Prof Adam Brumm, who co-led the research, said the intact DNA was a rare find.

“The humid tropics are very unforgiving on DNA preservation in ancient human bones and teeth,” Brumm said.

“There’s only one or two pre-neolithic skeletons that have yielded ancient DNA in all of mainland south-east Asia.

“Elsewhere in the world – in the northern latitudes of Europe, in America – ancient DNA analysis is completely revolutionising our understanding of the early human story: the genetic diversity of ancient humans, population movements, demographic history.”

Initial excavations started in 2015 at the Leang Panninge cave on the island of Sulawesi.

The researchers describe Bessé as a “genetic fossil”. Genetic sequencing showed she had a unique ancestral history not shared by anyone living today, nor any known humans from the ancient past, Brumm said.

Around half of Bessé’s genetic makeup is similar to present-day Indigenous Australians and people from New Guinea and the Western Pacific islands.

“Her ancestors would have been a part of the initial wave of movement of early humans from mainland Asia through these Wallacean islands towards what we today call Sahul, which was the combined ice age landmass of Australia and New Guinea,” Brumm said.

Toalean stone arrowheads. Bessé remains were found alongside prehistoric tools and red ochre.

Surprisingly, Bessé’s DNA also showed an ancient link to east Asia, which challenges what was previously known about the timeline of migration to Wallacea.

“It is thought that the first time people with predominantly Asian ancestry entered the Wallacean region was around about three or four thousand years ago when the first prehistoric neolithic farmers entered the region from Taiwan,” Brumm said.

READ ALSO: THEY REBUILD THE FACES OF EGYPTIAN MUMMIES FROM THEIR 2,000-YEAR-OLD DNA

“If we’re finding this Asian ancestry in a hunter-gatherer person who lived thousands of years before the arrival of these neolithic people from Taiwan, then it suggests … earlier movement of some population from Asia into this region.”

Bessé is also the first known skeleton belonging to the Toalean culture, a group of hunter-gatherers who lived in South Sulawesi between 1,500 and 8,000 years ago.

She was around 17 to 18 years old at the time of burial. Prehistoric stone tools and red ochre were found alongside her remains. Her grave also contained bones of hunted wild animals.

Spectacular Fossil of ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ Can Finally Reveal Its Secrets

Spectacular Fossil of ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ Can Finally Reveal Its Secrets

Palaeontologists will finally have the chance to study in detail an exquisite fossil containing what appears to be the most complete Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops skeletons on record, tangled together in possible epic combat.

Spectacular Fossil of ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ Can Finally Reveal Its Secrets
Close-up to the juvenile T. rex specimen of ‘Dueling Dinosaurs

Originally discovered in 2006, the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ fossil was kept in private hands and locked away in warehouses for 15 years.

The prestigious find was finally acquired by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) and is promised to shed new light on the paleobiology of the most famous prehistoric adversaries ever existed.

An iconic battle?

Did the juvenile tyrannosaur and the full-grown ceratopsian actually fight each other to death? Or did the two animals entombed together by chance, perhaps as carcasses caught on the same river sandbar? No one knows for sure, but there’s a series of tantalizing clues that need to be taken into account.

For example, the juvenile Tyrannosaurus had most of its teeth broken, its skull is cracked and it also bears a broken finger. Triceratops for its part had tyrannosaur teeth embedded in their spine.

Whether the aforementioned injuries were sustained during a brutal battle between the two adversaries or occurred after each creature’s death is yet to be concluded.

Most scientists agree that the full excavation of the skeletons may help solve this 66 million-year-old mystery.

The ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ fossil may represent a lethal struggle between a Triceratops and a juvenile T. rex.

A precious fossil

The ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ fossil is a truly remarkable find. It is thought to include 100% of both creatures’ bones, as well as body outlines, skin impressions, and possibly even the remains of soft tissues and stomach contents.

“What is remarkable about these specimens is they still preserve all their context about the late Cretaceous period surroundings. So we can really dive in and know there is integrity in the scientific data that will come from these specimens,” said Lindsay Zanno, a palaeontologist at North Carolina State University and the NCMNS head of palaeontology.

Some of the questions researchers want to answer about the fossils include determining if molecules are preserved in the skin impressions and if the tyrannosaur fossil shows evidence of feathers.

Moreover, the juvenile tyrannosaur specimen could shed new light on the growing stages of the ‘tyrant lizard king’ and its transformation from an agile hunter to a bulky superpredator.

The ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ compared to a human

Epilogue

Despite being a recurring theme across most dinosaur media, the iconic showdown between T.rex and Triceratops was only weakly backed up by scientific evidence.

The examination of the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ fossil could confirm -among others, that such violent interactions did indeed take place in the Late Cretaceous North America 66 million years ago…

The fossil will be housed in a new expansion to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, including a state-of-the-art palaeontology lab, that will open in 2022. For more information about this spectacular fossil as well as the future exhibit visit the official site of the NCMNS here.

Archaeologists identify the oldest Muslim graves ever found in Europe

Archaeologists identify oldest Muslim graves ever found in Europe

An archaeological site in northeast Spain holds one of the oldest-known Muslim cemeteries in the country, with the discovery of 433 graves, some dating back to the first 100 years of the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. 

Archaeologists think up to 4,500 bodies may have been buried in the ancient necropolis at Tauste over 400 years of Muslim rule.

The finds confirm that the region, along the frontier between the warring Islamic and Christian worlds in the turbulent early Middle Ages, was once dominated by Muslim rulers, who were later replaced by Christian rulers and their history forgotten.

The archaeologists unearthed the ancient graves from a maqbara or Muslim necropolis, dating from between the eighth and the 12th centuries, this summer in the town of Tauste, in the Ebro Valley about 25 miles (40 kilometres) northwest of Zaragoza.

The remains show that the dead were buried according to Muslim funeral rituals and suggest the town was largely Islamic for hundreds of years, despite there being no mention of this phase in local histories.

“The number of people buried in the necropolis and the time it was occupied indicates that Tauste was an important town in the Ebro Valley in Islamic times,” lead archaeologist Eva Giménez of the heritage company Paleoymás told Live Science.

Giménez and the company Paleoymás were contracted for the latest excavations by El Patiaz Cultural Association, which was founded by local people in 1999 to investigate the history of the town.

Their initial excavations in 2010 suggested that a 5-acre (2 hectares) Islamic necropolis at Tauste might hold the remains of up to 4,500 people. But the association’s limited funds meant only 46 graves could be unearthed in the first four years of work.

Giménez said the latest discoveries hint that even more Muslim graves could still be found. “We now have information that indicates that the size of the necropolis is greater than what was known,” she said.

Archaeologists think up to 4,500 bodies may have been buried in the ancient necropolis at Tauste over 400 years of Muslim rule.
The Islamic phase of Tauste’s history had been forgotten – perhaps deliberately – and ancient graves sometimes found in the town were dismissed as those of victims of the 19th-century cholera pandemic.
The latest excavations at Tauste focused on a single road known to pass through the ancient Islamic necropolis. The remains of 433 people were unearthed there who had been buried according to Muslim funeral rituals.

Muslim conquest

The graves date all the way back to the time when Muslim armies from North Africa that were allied with Islam’s Umayyad caliphate in Damascus invaded what is now Spain in A.D. 711. By 718, they had conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula — today’s Spain and Portugal — except for some mountainous regions of the northwest that remained independent Christian kingdoms.

The Muslim invaders, called “Moors” by the Christians, then attempted to conquer Gaul — now France — but were turned back, first at the Battle of Toulouse in 721 and then at the Battle of Tours in 732, where they were defeated by a smaller Frankish army led by the nobleman Charles Martel. It’s said the Frankish use of heavy cavalry played a decisive part in the battle, Live Science previously reported.

After that, Muslim leaders established their rule south of Barcelona and the Pyrenees, the mountain range that divides Spain and France. The Ebro Valley around Zaragoza, however, stayed in Muslim hands.

The Muslim-ruled region became known as al-Andalus — with the “Andal” part possibly from the name of the Vandals the Muslims had conquered — and reached its cultural peak in about the 10th century with advances in mathematics, astronomy and medicine. By some accounts, the regime was relatively benign. Jews and Christians were allowed to practice their religions if they chose not to convert to Islam, but they paid extra tax, called jizya, and were treated as a lower social class than Muslims.

Muslim rule in Spain began to fragment after the 11th century, and the Christian kingdoms in the north grew more powerful. The last Muslim emirate, at Granada, was defeated in 1492 by the armies of Castile in the final battle of the Christian Reconquista led by Isabela and Ferdinand, the first queen and king of Spain. Islam was outlawed, and violent anti-Muslim persecutions continued until the early 17th century.

The influence of Islamic rule has been recognized in nearby parts of the region, but history was silent about the Islamic phase at Tauste.

Ancient graves were sometimes unearthed in the town, but they were dismissed as those of victims of a cholera pandemic that killed almost a quarter-million people in Spain in 1854 and 1855, said Miriam Pina Pardos, the director of the Anthropological Observatory of the Islamic Necropolis of Tauste for El Patiaz.

Unearthing Islam

Some members of El Patiaz suspected an 11th-century church tower in the town had Islamic origins — a suspicion confirmed when examinations showed it was once a minaret in the distinctive Zagri architecture.. 

So in 2010, the group began excavations led by archaeologist Francisco Javier Gutierrez. They learned the ancient graves at Tauste contained individuals buried with Muslim rituals, and not in the style of a mass burial that might have been expected for victims of the cholera pandemic, Pina Pardos said.

For instance, each grave held the remains of a single person, typically placed lying on their right side so that their gaze was oriented toward Mecca, and each was covered with a mound of earth, Gutierrez said. Some may also have had a wooden cover, now missing.

The graves also showed other distinctive Muslim features: They were just large enough to accommodate the body, and the dead were buried in a white shroud, regardless of their social status, she said. To this day, Muslim rituals do not allow the dead to be buried with grave goods, but fragments of ceramics found nearby in the excavations since 2010 showed they dated to between the eighth and 12th centuries, Giménez said.

While the existence of the Islamic graveyard was known from the earlier excavations, “what was not known where the dimensions and density of the tombs,” she said. “It has been expected and unexpected at the same time.”

The latest discoveries, in a single street known to be part of the ancient necropolis, show the extent of Muslim influence in the town over several centuries., 

The cemetery was in use continuously for more than 400 years, they found. “This tells us about a constant and deeply rooted [Islamic] population in Tauste since the beginning of the eighth century,” Giménez said.

Hittite Prince’s Seal and Cuneiform Tablet Uncovered in Turkey

Hittite Prince’s Seal and Cuneiform Tablet Uncovered in Turkey

A 3,250-year-old seal belonging to a Hittite prince and an ancient cuneiform tablet dating back 3,400 years were discovered in Turkey’s southern Hatay province.

Hittite Prince’s Seal and Cuneiform Tablet Uncovered in Turkey

The excavations in Accana Hoyuk of the Reyhanli district in Hatay on behalf of the Culture and Tourism Ministry with the support of the Turkish Historical Society, have been underway for six months.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Murat Akar, the head of the excavation team and Mustafa Kemal University’s Protohistory and Near East Archeology Department chair, said they have had some “thrilling” findings.

An ancient tablet they have unearthed has Akkadian cuneiform texts, Akar noted, saying: “The tablet, around 3,400 years old, and the accompanying cylinder seals give us information about the administration and administrative practices of the region, especially during a period when the region was under the rule of the Mitanni Empire.”

He said they had found a 3,250-year-old seal during the latest excavation, adding that the item is one of the most important discoveries of this year, helping us understand “what happened during the period after the region came under the Hittite control” as well as “define its administrative and political dynamics.”

Akar further noted that the findings provide information about the administrative and archival practices in the Alalakh ancient city, the capital of the Mukish Kingdom in the Middle and Late Bronze Age.

“The written documents we found are extremely exciting,” he said.

The impressions on the cylinder seals show the existence of a ruling class in the region, Akar said, adding: “This last one, with Luwian hieroglyphic inscription on it, gives us the name of a Hittite prince whose name is not included in other written documents in Alalakh and appears for the first time.”

He did not reveal the name of the Hittite prince but said a Hittitology academic at Istanbul University Faculty of Letters, Hasan Peker, will share the name of the prince with the scientific community once the research is completed.

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