Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered a clay tablet with a cuneiform inscription some 3,800 years old. The tablet was found in the Bronze Age settlement of Tell Atcana, which was hit by an earthquake earlier this year. It has already been determined that the inscription is in the Akkadian language. Preliminary deciphering of the text has shown that the tablet represents a treaty on the acquisition by the king of the city-state of Alalakh of another city, the name of which is still unknown.
The tablet was found in Alalakh, one of the largest cities in the region during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (2200-1300 BC). It was also the capital of the Mukish kingdom in the second millennium BC and had great influence and major trade links. For example, Alalakh conducted mutual trade with Mesopotamia and Egypt, Mediterranean countries and modern Anatolia.
The tablet has provided scientists with very valuable information, as the text mentions the name of Yarim-Lim, the first chronologically known to science kings of Alalakh. The cuneiform text seals the deal – the king acquired some other ancient city. Perhaps, the full decipherment of the text will indicate to scientists the details of the transaction, including the name of the acquired city.
“The find proves that these kings had the kind of economic power and potential that allowed them to simply buy another city back then,” said Murat Akar, a professor of archaeology. – The tablet is intact and the find was very interesting. It most likely bears the names of important people in the city who witnessed that transaction. The tablet is a unique example, especially important for understanding the economic structure of the period, the relationship between the cities, and the political model.”
After the expertise is completed, the plaque will be handed over to the museum, Murat Akar said. By the way, in Alalakh, the remains of two palaces made of sun-burnt raw brick with wooden supports and faced with rectangular stone blocks have survived to this day. The first was built around 2000 BC, the second around 1735 BC. The city itself was captured and burned by the Hittites twice – in the 16th and mid-14th centuries AD. It is known that the locals left Alalakh in the 13th century B.C. and never returned there again.