Researchers decipher 3,200-year-old stone slab which offers insight on lost ancient civilization

Archaeologists say the ancient stone writings could provide answers about ‘one of the greatest puzzles of Mediterranean archaeology’.

Dutch researcher Fred Woudhuizen and Swiss geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger announced they successfully deciphered a description that had been engraved on a stone slab 3,200 years ago.

The inscription written in Luvita language speaks of the emergence of a powerful kingdom called Mira, which formed part of the confederation called ‘Sea People’.

The ancient 29-metre limestone frieze discovered in 1878 in the village of Beyköy, 34 kilometers north of Afyonkarahisar, in modern-day Turkey, is one of the largest hieroglyphic inscriptions from the Bronze Age.

What makes it even more mystifying is the fact that only a handful of scholars on Earth are able to read the language it was written in.

Translation of a copy

Luwian Hieroglyphic inscription by the Great King of Mira, Kupanta-Kurunta, composed at about 1180 BC. Credit: Luwian Studies.

The original stone slab was destroyed in the 19th Century, and all modern deciphering is based off of copies which were drawn by scholars at the time.

The remains of the slab were used in the 19th century as stone material used for the construction of a Mosque.

According to the inscription, Mira controlled Troy, both located in the territory of present-day Turkey.

The stone describes how king Kupanta-Kurunta became the ruler of Mira and the control on Troy, although he was not the true monarch of this last territory.

The ancient stone tablet also describes how the Trojan prince Muksus, inspired by the governors of Mira, managed to conquer on a naval expedition to Ashkelon, a town situated on present Israeli ground and built a fort there.

Researchers say how the translation of the ancient text—written in ancient Luwian language—explains the collapse of one of the most powerful and advanced civilizations in the Bronze Age.

Furthermore, the script details how a ‘united fleet of kingdoms’ from western Asia Minor attacked and raided coastal cities along the eastern Mediterranean.

Researchers believe the attackers were part of a seafaring confederation which invaded various coastal cities in the south and southeast of Anatolia, as well as in Syria, Egypt, and Palestine.

Mr. Zangger, who is a Dutch linguist and expert in Luwian language and script, said: the inscription suggested: “Luwians from western Asia Minor contributed decisively to the so-called Sea Peoples’ invasions – and thus to the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean”.

The foundations said: “One of the greatest puzzles of Mediterranean archeology can thus be plausibly solved.”

The discoveries are set to be published in the Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society.

The ancient Sea Peoples are believed to have been a mysterious seafaring confederation that attacked ancient Egypt and other areas of the eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age sometimes between 1200 and 900 BC.

(H/T LiveScience)

Featured image: by VincentPompetti

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