Italian and Turkish archaeologists working at Karkemish
The archaeologists of the Turkish-Italian mission led by the University of Bologna-UNIBO, during the most recent campaign in Karkemish, Turkey, have unearthed findings dating back to 13th century B.C. that will help understand the administrative and commercial mechanisms of the town.
Located between Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia, Karkemish was a centre of extraordinary importance, often compared to Troy, Ur, Jerusalem, Petra and Babylon that starting from 2300 B.C. acquired a crucial role in the region, dominated by Hittites, Assyrians and Babylonians over the centuries.
The findings include a large basalt relief of two griffons dating back to the end of the 10th century B.C., some sarcophagi and Achaemenid funerary kits, Neo-Assyrian cuneiform tablets and an ancient grain silo. The most important findings were 250 Hittite clay “bullae”, the equivalent of our delivery notes, used in the exchange of goods.
The archaeologists have found them on the relatively late Bronze Age level, the period of maximum splendor for Karkemish. The seals of some of the highest officers of the Hittite administration are stamped on the bullae: tracing back their use and associated goods will help clarify the administration system of the town, which hosted the Hittite viceroy who controlled the entire Syrian region.
The mission led by Professor Nicolò Marchetti, which began in 2011, in collaboration with the Turkish universities of Gaziantep and Istanbul, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, MIUR and Sanko Holding, is bringing to light the evidence of a glorious past with the intent of opening the Karkemish archaeological park, one of the most important ancient urban centres, in May 2018.