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Hama Stones

Hama is the modern day name of the old Hamath which came under Hittite rule after Suppiluliuma's Syrian campaign. After the fall of the Empire it was an independent Late Hittite kingdom in the 10th and 9th centuries BCE after which it came under Aramean rulers. Nevertheless, Hittite culture of the city must have continued further. By the time it was invaded in 720 BCE, Assyrian king Sargon II was referring to the city's ruler as the "wicked Hittite".
Several orthostats and gate lions dating to the Hittite era were excavated. Also several monumental blocks with hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions that date from 9th century have been found.
Four of the stones were found in the walls of some buildings in Hama. They are among the very first artifacts that attracted the modern day researchers to the existence of a Hittite civilization and language. The stones were first spotted by J. L. Burckhardt in 1812 without paying much of an attention. In 1870 they were also noticed by American travellers J. A. Johnson ve S. Jessup, but locals believed the stones had mystical powers and would not tolerate anybody moving them. They were finally moved to the museum in Istanbul by Dr. W. Wright in 1872 with the help of the new governor of the area. The texts on the blocks are building inscriptions of the kings of Hamath, Urhilina and his son Uratamis.
Other similar blocks found in 1958 and 1970 are currently in Hama Museum. Other inscriptions from Restan (Musée du Louvre), Apamea (Aleppo Museum), and Hines (Iraq?) also belong to Urhilina or his son Uratamis.


Click on pictures for a larger image.

Hama Stones Stone 1 Stone 1 Inscriptions on stone 1 - MVAG
Stone 2 Stone 2 Inscriptions on stone 2 - MVAG
Stone 3 Stone 3 Inscriptions on stone 3 - MVAG
Stone 4 Stone 4 Stone 4 Stone 4 Inscriptions on stone 4 - MVAG
Hama Museum - J.D.Hawkins - photo:A.Archi Hama Museum - J.D.Hawkins - photo:P.J.Riis Hama Museum - J.D.Hawkins - photo:P.J.Riis Location unknown - J.D.Hawkins Restan (in Louvre) - J.D.Hawkins Apamea (in Aleppo) - J.D.Hawkins Hines (in Iraq) - I.Gelb



Image sources:
Bora Bilgin, 2006.
Mitteilungen der Vordersiatischen Gesellschaft 1900.
J.David Hawkins, Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions. 2000.
Gelb,Ignace Jay. 1939. Hittite Hieroglyphic Monuments. (OIP, 45.) Chicago.