The modern city of Kahramanmaraş (previously Maraş until 1973) is situated at about the same location as the capital city of Late Hittite state Gurgum. In Assyrian sources the city was referred to as Marqas from which the modern name of the city originates. There has not been a systematic excavation but numerous monumental items have been recovered. Most of the items originate from within the city. Since the original settlement seems to have been disturbed long time ago, most of these finds come from secondary locations. Some of the earliest finds have ended up museums abroad (New York, Paris, Berlin, Tbilisi, St. Petersburg, Boston, and Jerusalem) and some others were also transferred in early years of the 20th century to museums in Turkey particularly to Istanbul and Adana. Latest finds have been collected in the newly built Kahramanmaraş Museum.
Gurgum kingdom is known to have lasted until the end of the 8th century BCE, and most of the finds date to the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. Several inscribed steles and statues provide the names of Gurgum's rulers, apparently all from the same family. The stele of Larama I is probably one of the earliest dating from the 10th century BCE.
A large group of items are funerary steles unique to this region. Many of those display a so-called "dining scene" due to presence of a husband and wife couple, sometimes accompanied by a child, around a table with food on it. However, the presence of the table with food seems to be symbolic as to a wish for plenty of food in the afterlife. The people around the table are often not involved in an act of eating, but rather holding different objects in their hands. These object may be symbolic for various attributes like power, authority, abundance, and so on, or in other cases perhaps they signify the roles of the deceased in life, such as a scribe with a stylus and writing board, a wife with a distaff and mirror, a farmer with wheat stalk, wine merchant with bunch of grapes, a merchant with a balance, a soldier/hunter with a bow and sword, etc.
Click on the pictures for larger images.
|Steles and sculptures|
Bonatz, D. Syro-hethitische Grabdenkmal, Mainz: Zabern, 2000.
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin, 2000: 249-81 and plts. 106-132.
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971.
(Further sources are cited under specific items)
Bora Bilgin, 2003, 2006, 2015.
Bora Bilgin, Ertuğrul Anıl, 2011.
Tayfun Bilgin, 2010, 2014, 2017.
Figen Anıl, 2018.
Stefan Przeworski, Syria 17, 1936.
Winfret Orthmann, Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Kings of Gurgum
(Hasan Peker, 2018, TUBA-AR 22: 61)
Astuwaramanza Late 11th
I. Muwatalli 10th
I. Larama 10th
I. Halparuntiya 10th-9th
II. Muwatalli / Mutalli 9th
II. Halparuntiya / Qalparunda 9th
II. Larama / Palalam(?) 9th
III. Halparuntiya / Qalparunda 9th
III. Larama 8th
III. Muwatalli / Mutallu
(Names from Assyrian sources are in italics)
End of 8th