Archaeologists Find Proof that early Hittites entered Europe
Archaeological discoveries in suburban Istanbul , Turkey, could rewrite the history books as new research has shown that the early Hittites ventured into Europe, while previously it was believed that they remained in Asia.
Archaeologists discovered iron god and goddess statues, bitumen, tin and ceramic pieces in two different places in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece river basin, which offer the first ever proof that the Hittites entered Europe.
“The Mesopotamian works of art date back to between the 17th and 15th centuries B.C., known as the dark era of Istanbul. We have also found bitumen as well as tin and ceramic pieces dating back to the Mesopotamian era,” said the head of the excavations, Professor Şengül Aydıngün.
During this era, Bitumen was used in Mesopotamia to make vessels waterproof. The tin was found in cubes and at the time, was considered more valuable than gold. The statues were used for vows and their earliest examples were found in southern Mesopotamia in 3000 BC.
The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian people who established an empire in north-central Anatolia around 1600 BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse, splintering into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC.
“These groups’ traces survived for 1,000-1,500 years. After their traces disappeared, there was a big chronological gap until the seventh century B.C. The two statues that we have found are from the early Hittite period. The statues of this era were found for the first time in Istanbul. The traces of the Hittites were previously [only] found in Troy and İzmir,” said Aydıngün.
It is more accurate to call the Hittite kingdom a confederacy than an empire. It acquired the imperial designation during our own period of imperialism, in the late 19th and early 20th century, when interest in the Hittites intensified among archaeologists.