Putting Luwian culture on the map

ZURICH, August 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — At the time of the Trojan War, circa 1200 BCE, Turkey was covered by a dense network of well-established settlements. This is one of the main results of an in-depth investigation that began twelve years ago and is published today. A team of Swiss and Turkish archaeologists evaluated the results of 33 excavations and 30 archaeological surveys in the west Turkey and, on this basis, identified 477 major settlement sites that were inhabited at least from 2000 to 1000 BCE, and in some cases up to 5000 years ago.

The study by Eberhard ZanggerAlper Aşınmaz, and Serdal Mutlu demonstrates that a tightly knit network of long-lived Bronze Age settlements exploited the natural resources of the west Turkey, a region that was until now considered a cultural no man’s land. A preliminary study in 2016 had proposed the name “Luwian culture” for the population among the well-studied Mycenaeans in the south Greece and the Hittites in the center Asia Minor.

Using a geographic information system (GIS) and taking into account 30 physio-geographical factors, the scientists were able to determine which sites people preferred for their settlements. The most important factors were proximity to clean water and fertile farmland. Short distances to potential transportation routes also played a role. In contrast, ore deposits, which were abundant in the region, apparently had no influence on settlement patterns.

The study also provides arguments for the identification of the so-called Sea Peoples, a motley band of thieves who raided the coastal cities of the eastern Mediterranean after 1200 BCE. Excavations at Enkomi on Cyprus unearthed in 1952 a document now identified as a letter from a Cypriot admiral. The Navarcan, while patrolling near the island of Samos in the southern Aegean, unexpectedly encountered a large fleet coming from Troy. From a protective harbor he sent the letter asking for reinforcements. As a result, the hitherto mysterious Sea Peoples turn out to be a temporary military alliance of small western Anatolian states.

Source: Eberhard ZanggerAlper Aşınmaz and Serdal Mutlu (2022): “Middle and Late Bronze Age Western Asia Minor: A Status Report.” In: The Political Geography of Western Anatolia at the End of the Bronze Ageedited by Ivo Hajnal, Eberhard Zanggerand Jorrit Kelder, Archaeolingua Minor Series 45, 39–180. Archaeolingua, Budapest. ISBN 978-615-5766-54-1.

Contact: Eberhard Zangger, Luwian Studies, [email protected], tel. +41 44 250 74 90

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SOURCE Luwian Studies

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