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Hittites or Hurrians

12 August 2015
Ancient history

At www.hurriyetdailynews.com/unearthed-hittite-artifacts-in-istanbul-break-… … the title of this piece is a question mark – Hittites or Hurrians? It begins by saying objects of the Hurrian civilisation have been found near Istanbul – and this proves the Hittites reached Europe. So, are the finds Hurrian – or Hittite? If they are Hurrian they could be the leftovers of loot pillaged by the Cimmerians from the Hurrian Urartu empire in the 7th century BC (as finds have turned up in the Gordion tombs). The Hittites were somewhat earlier, dated to the Late Bronze Age, and their empire did expand to include Hurrian enclaves in eastern Anatolia and the Transcaucasus regions – but why are Hurrian finds classified rather than Hittite?

The discovery, in contradiction, places the objects around 1800BC – which is well inside the Middle Bronze Age. Presumabaly some sort of link with the Assyrian colonies period is being inferred – which is usually dated well before the arrival or ascendancy of the Hittites. It would have been more realistic to describe the objects as having an origin in the Middle East and reached western Turkey by way of the merchants of the Old Assyrian period (which is Middle Bronze Age). I suppose we shall have to wait and see what Current World Archaeology has to say in a couple of months time.

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