Main Page


Several monumental blocks and stone fragments inscribed in Hieroglyphic Luwian have been found in the vicinity of Samsat. Largest piece is a badly preserved basalt stele (SAMSAT 1) with a broken top. It had been first noted in 1883 lying somewhere between the village of Samsat and the nearby höyük and had been moved to the city of Adıyaman sometime in the 1960s. It is about 2 meters high (including the tenon), 61 cm wide and 40 cm thick. On the front is the relief of a ruler on which a groove has been chiseled in later ages. There are traces of an inscription on the two sides, best preserved on the left (B) with 9 lines, although still largely illegible. The back of the stele has been damaged and it is unclear whether it had been also inscribed. Not much could be deduced from the poorly preserved text. The stele is in the Adıyaman Museum.

Two others, a stone fragment (broken in two) with parts of the 2 lines of an inscription (SAMSAT 2) and a round block which might be a column base with a single line inscription on its upper edge (SAMSAT 3), were seen in 1958 and in the 1960s respectively, but their current whereabouts are not known.

Multiple other fragments, two large blocks and several smaller pieces, were found during the excavations conducted at Samsat Höyük in the 1980s. Two large fragments (Fragments 1 and 2) are limestone blocks and inscribed on their front face with Luwian inscription, although few of the signs are readable due to heavy damage. These blocks and other eight smaller fragments of limestone and basalt are in the Adıyaman Museum. All pieces from Samsat probably date to the 9th to 8th century BCE.

Click on the pictures for larger images.

C. Süer, 2011 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 J. D. Hawkins, 2000
SAMSAT Frag. 1
B. Bilgin, 2011 B. Bilgin, 2011 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 J. D. Hawkins, 2000
SAMSAT Frag. 2
C. Süer, 2011 C. Süer, 2011 J. D. Hawkins, 2000 J. D. Hawkins, 2000

Gonnet, H. "Les hieroglyphes de Samsat," Hethitica 10, 1990: 129–33.
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin, 2000: 352–55 and plts. 179–84.
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971. (Samsat 1)

Image sources:
Bora Bilgin, 2011
Cüneyt Süer, 2011
J. David Hawkins, 2000.