The modern city of Kahramanmaraş (previously Maraş until 1973) is situated at about the same location as the Late Hittite city state Gurgum. There has not been a systematic excavation but several Hittite monuments 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 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 build Kahramanmaras Museum.
Gurgum kingdom is known to have lasted until the end of 8th century, and most of the finds date to the 9th to 8th centuries BCE. 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 possibly signifying their roles 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 with a bow and sword, etc.
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|Steles and sculptures|
Bora Bilgin, 2003, 2006, 2015.
Bora Bilgin, Ertuğrul Anıl, 2011.
Tayfun Bilgin, 2010, 2017.
Stefan Przeworski, Syria 17, 1936.
Winfret Orthmann, Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.