Tell Açana (Tell Atchana) is the modern name of the ancient site of Alalakh. It is located on the northern bend of the Orontes River, about 800 m to the southeast of the Tell Tayinat mound. The site was excavated by Leonard Woolley in the 1930s and 1940s. New excavations are being carried out under Aslıhan Yener since 2003 first with the University of Chicago and since 2006 with Mustafa Kemal University in Antakya.
The city had a rich history in the first half of the 2nd millennium as part of the Kingdom of Yamhad and later as a vassal kingdom of the Mittanni Empire. It is stated in Hittite documents that Alalakh had already suffered a destruction at the hands of the Hittite king Hattusili I early on, but it did not come under permanent Hittite occupation until the reign of Suppiluliuma I in the mid-14th century BCE. During the Hittite period the importance of the city gradually faded.
The orthostat of Tudhaliya was found reused as a paving stone in the staircase of the Ishtar Temple. The most recent reading of the worn out hieroglyphic labels identify the two figures depicted on it as "Tudhaliya, Great Priest, Prince" and "Anu-Hepa, Princess," who are suggested to be contemporaries of king Mursili II (Yener, Dinçol, Peker, NABU 2014-4). This identification dates the orthostat to sometime around the late 14th or early 13th century BCE. The angular gate lions were also found as reused in the later phases of the temple and may date to an even earlier period. The orthostat and the gate lions are currently in the Antakya Museum.
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Yener, K. A. (ed), Tell Atchana, Ancient Alalakh, Volume 1, The 20032004 Excavation Seasons, 2010.
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