Possible Assyrian archive found in Turkish temple
University of Toronto archaeologists find cache of cuneiform tablets in 2,700-year old Turkish temple
May provide insights into Assyrian imperial aspirations
By Sean Bettam
Excavations led by a University of Toronto archaeologist at the site of a recently discovered temple in southeastern Turkey have uncovered a cache of cuneiform tablets dating back to the Iron Age period between 1200 and 600 BCE. Found in the temple's cella, or 'holy of holies', the tablets are part of a possible archive. The cella also contained gold, bronze and iron implements, libation vessels and ornately decorated ritual objects.
"The assemblage appears to represent a Neo-Assyrian renovation of an older Neo-Hittite temple complex, providing a rare glimpse into the religious dimension of Assyrian imperial ideology," said Timothy Harrison, professor of near eastern archeology in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and director of U of T's Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP). "The tablets, and the information they contain, may possibly highlight the imperial ambitions of one of the great powers of the ancient world, and its lasting influence on the political culture of the Middle East."