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Scientists have the deciphering of the Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered in the Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa

The deciphering of the Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered during last year’s Hattusa excavations, led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Schachner, has been completed.

The Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered in the Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa last year revealed new information about the person responsible for constructing the tunnel. The hieroglyphs contain the name and title of the individual in charge of the tunnel’s construction.

The discovery of 3,500-year-old new hieroglyphic symbols in the Hattusa-Yerkapi structure
The inscriptions discovered last year by Associate Professor Dr. Bülent Genç, a faculty member of the Archaeology Department at Mardin Artuklu University, consist of 249 symbols drawn with root dye and are approximately 3,500 years old.

In the hieroglyphs found at the western and eastern ends of the tunnel, it is understood that a person named ‘Arişadu’ was responsible for the construction of the tunnel. This information is considered the most significant discovery regarding the tunnel’s construction.

In the hieroglyphs found on the western side of the tunnel, there are also symbols for ‘Tuthaliya Mountain’ and ‘road.’ The combination of these symbols suggests that the tunnel was constructed as a road leading to Tuthaliya Mountain.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schachner
Prof. Dr. Andreas Schachner

Schachner, drawing attention to the two sets of symbols on the western side of the tunnel, continued as follows:

One group has not yet been fully clarified, but the meaning of one group is clear. They have combined the symbols for ‘Tuthaliya Mountain’ and ‘road.’ We know about Tuthaliya Mountain from Hittite texts. Tuthaliya Mountain is a sacred mountain for the Hittites. It is so important that several kings took their royal names from there. The road symbol is believed to carry meanings such as ‘the road from Tuthaliya,’ ‘the road leading to Tuthaliya Mountain,’ or ‘the road passing through Tuthaliya Mountain’.

Due to the presence of these symbols in a tunnel, my hypothesis is whether we can associate Yerkapı with Tuthaliya Mountain or if there is an artificially constructed Tuthaliya Mountain, because from the outside, especially when viewed from the plains, Yerkapı is at the highest point of Hattusa and is therefore visible from all sides. It is located in a manner befitting a sacred place.

Scientists have the deciphering of the Anatolian hieroglyphs discovered in the Yerkapı Tunnel in Hattusa
Photo AA

Hattusa Excavation Director, Prof. Dr. Andreas Schachner, stated in his announcement that the Anatolian hieroglyphs used in the construction of the tunnel provide important clues for understanding the Hittite era.”

Schachner stated, “These hieroglyphs appear as the signature, inscription, or an expression of ‘I did it’ by the person who built this tunnel. However, at the same time, we understand this; most likely, in the Hittite world, Anatolian hieroglyphs, this pictorial script, were much more widespread than cuneiform script.”

He also mentioned that it was common in everyday life. Cuneiform was more of an elite phenomenon, something used by the state, but with hieroglyphs, we can anticipate various applications like everyday communication, city navigation signs, and many other things.

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