Tuesday, 10 October 2017

3,200-year-old stone tells of invasion of mysterious sea people

Symbols on a 3,200-year-old stone slab have been deciphered by researchers who say they could solve "one of the greatest puzzles of Mediterranean archaeology". The 29-metre limestone frieze, found in 1878, in what is now Turkey, bears the longest known hieroglyphic inscription from the Bronze Age. Only a handful of scholars worldwide can read its ancient Luwian language.

Researchers believe the inscriptions were commissioned in 1190 BC by Kupanta-Kurunta, the king of a late Bronze Age state known as Mira. The text suggests the kingdom and other Anatolian states invaded ancient Egypt and other regions of the east Mediterranean before and during the fall of the Bronze Age. The script tells how a united fleet of kingdoms from western Asia Minor raided coastal cities on the eastern Mediterranean. The identity and origin of the invaders which scholars call the Trojan Sea People had puzzled archaeologists for centuries. The first translation provides an explanation for the unexplained collapse of the Bronze Age's advanced civilizations.
It suggests they were part of a marauding seafaring confederation, which historians believe played a part in the collapse of nascent Bronze Age civilizations.