Alalakh (Hittite: Alalaḫ) was an urban site in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, c. 2000-1200 BC, in the Amuq Lake valley, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of Antakya (historic Antioch) in what is now Turkey's Hatay Province, near (less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from) the modern border with Syria. The first palace was built around 2000 BC, and likely destroyed in the 12th century BC and never reoccupied. The city contained palaces, temples, private houses and fortifications. The remains of Alalakh have formed an extensive mound covering around 22 hectares; the modern archaeological site is known as Tell Atchana. In Late Bronze Age, Alalakh was the capital of the local kingdom of Mukiš.
|Alternative name||Tell Atchana|
|Location||Hatay Province, Turkey|
|Founded||2nd millennium BC|
|Abandoned||12th century BC|
|Treaty clay tablet|
|Size||Length: 12 cm (4.7 in)|
Width: 6.4 cm (2.5 in)
|Present location||Room 54, British Museum, London|
Alalakh was founded by the Amorites (in the territory of present-day Turkey) during the early Middle Bronze Age in the late 3rd millennium BC. The first palace was built c. 2000 BC, contemporary with the Third Dynasty of Ur.
|Archaeological Era||Amuq Phases||Date BC|
|Terminal Early Bronze Age||Late J||2050-2000|
|Middle and Late Bronze Ages||K, L, M||2000-1150|
|Iron Age I||N||1150-900|
|Iron Age II||O (Early-Middle.)||900-738|
Middle Bronze AgeEdit
According to recent excavations led by archaeologists K. A. Yener and Murat Akar, the whole Middle Bronze Age in Alalakh lasted c. 2100-1650 BC, as part of a re-urbanization period in Anatolia as well as in the Near East and Levant. Middle Bronze II began around 19th century BC, in Yener's Period 8 (Woolley's level VIII), in which a palace and a temple, as well as intramural burials, were found. Next, in Period 7 (Level VII), a later palace, an archive, some temples, a city wall, a tripartite gate, households, workshops, extramural and intramural burials were excavated. In the palace of Level VII, during 2015-2019 excavations, more than 70 wall painting fragments were found and radiocarbon-dated to c. 1780-1680 BC.
The written history of the site may begin under the name Alakhtum, with tablets from Mari in the 18th century BC, when the city was part of the kingdom of Yamhad (modern Aleppo). A dossier of tablets records that King Sumu-Epuh sold the territory of Alakhtum to his son-in-law Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, retaining for himself overlordship. After the fall of Mari in 1765 BC, Alalakh seems to have come under the rule of Yamhad again. King Abba-El I of Aleppo bestowed it upon his brother Yarim-Lim, to replace the city of Irridu. Abba-El had destroyed the latter after it revolted against his brother Yarim-Lim. In the 18th to 17th centuries period transition, Alalakh was under the reign of king Yarim-Lim, and was the capital of the city-state of Mukiš and vassal to Yamhad, centered in modern Aleppo. A dynasty of Yarim-Lim's descendants was founded, under the hegemony of Aleppo, that lasted to the second half of 17th century BC. At that time Alalakh was destroyed, most likely by Hittite king Hattusili I, in the second year of his campaigns. As per middle chronology and new publications by archaeologist K. A. Yener, destruction of Alalakh by Hattusili I can be firmly located as a "Fire and Conflagration" around 1650 BC.
Late Bronze AgeEdit
After a hiatus of less than a century, written records for Alalakh resume. At this time, it was again the seat of a local dynasty. Most of the information about the founding of this dynasty comes from a statue inscribed with what seems to be an autobiography of the dynasty's founding king.
According to his inscription, in the 15th century BC, Idrimi, son of the king of Yamhad, may have fled his city for Emar, traveled to Alalakh, gained control of the city, and been recognized as a vassal by Barattarna. The inscription records Idrimi's vicissitudes: after his family had been forced to flee to Emar, he left them and joined the "Hapiru people" in "Ammija in the land of Canaan." The Hapiru recognized him as the "son of their overlord" and "gathered around him"; after living among them for seven years, he led his Habiru warriors in a successful attack by sea on Alalakh, where he became king.
However, according to the archaeological site report, this statue was discovered in a level of occupation dating several centuries after the time that Idrimi lived. But recently, archaeologist Jacob Lauinger considers the statue and inscription can be dated to Woolley's Level III (/II), c. 1400-1350 BC, around 50 to 100 years after Idrimi's lifetime. There has been much scholarly debate as to its historicity. Archaeologically-dated tablets recount that Idrimi's son Niqmepuh was contemporaneous with the Mitanni king Saushtatar. This seems to support the inscription on the statue claiming that Idrimi was contemporaneous with Barattarna, Saushtatar's predecessor.
The socio-economic history of Alalakh during the reign of Idrimi's son and grandson, Niqmepuh and Ilim-ilimma, is well documented by tablets excavated from the site. Idrimi is referred to rarely in these tablets.
In the mid-14th century BC, the Hittite Suppiluliuma I defeated king Tushratta of Mitanni and assumed control of northern Syria, then including Alalakh, which he incorporated into the Hittite Empire. A tablet records his grant of much of Mukish's land (that is, Alalakh's) to Ugarit, after the king of Ugarit alerted the Hittite king to a revolt by the kingdoms of Mukish, Nuhassa, and Niye. The majority of the city was abandoned by 1300 BC. Alalakh was probably destroyed by the Sea People in the 12th century BC, as were many other cities of coastal Anatolia and the Levant.[clarification needed] The site was never reoccupied, the port of Al Mina taking its place during the Iron Age.
Tell Atchana was excavated by the British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the years 1937–1939 and 1946–1949. His team discovered palaces, temples, private houses and fortification walls, in 17 archaeological levels, reaching from late Early Bronze Age (Level XVII, c. 2200–2000 BC) to Late Bronze Age (Level 0, 13th century BC). Among their finds was the inscribed statue of Idrimi, a king of Alalakh c. early 15th century BC. The foreman on the site, working with Woolley, was the Syrian Sheikh Hammoudi ibn Ibrahim.
After several years' surveys beginning in 1995, the University of Chicago team had its first full season of excavation in 2003 directed by K. Aslihan Yener. In 2004, the team had a short excavation and study season in order to process finds. In 2006 the project changed sponsorship and resumed excavations directed by K. Aslihan Yener under the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Mustafa Kemal University in Antakya.
About five hundred cuneiform tablets were retrieved at Level VII, (Middle Bronze Age) and Level IV (Late Bronze Age). The inscribed statue of Idrimi, a king of Alalakh c. early 15th century BC, has provided a unique autobiography of Idrimi's youth, his rise to power, and his military and other successes. The statue is now held in the British Museum. Akkadian texts from Alalakh primarily consist of juridical tablets, which record the ruling family's control over land and the income that followed, and administrative documents, which record the flow of commodities in and out of the palace. In addition, there are a few word lists, astrological omens and conjurations.
Many examples of Nuzi ware, a high quality ceramics associated with the Mitanni period, have been discovered in Alalakh. This type of ceramics, as found at Alalakh/Atchana, is sometimes described as Atchana ware, or as Atchana-Nuzi ware.
According to ancient DNA analyses conducted by Skourtanioti et al. (2020) on 28 human remains from Tell Atchana belonging to the Middle and Late Bronze age period (2006-1303 cal BC), the inhabitants of Alalakh were a mixture of Copper age Levantines and Mesopotamians, and were genetically similar to contemporary Levantines from Ebla and Sidon. Out of twelve males, six belonged to haplogroup J1a2a1a2-P58, two belonged to J2a1a1a2b2a-Z1847, and four belonged to J2b2-Z2454, H2-P96, L2-L595 and T1a1-CTS11451 each.
- Ingman, Tara, et al., (2021). "Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh), Hatay, Turkey during the 2nd millennium BC: Integration of isotopic and genomic evidence", in PLoS ONE 16(6), June 30, 2021, p. 2.
- Riehl, Simone, (2022). "Late Bronze Age Tell Atchana", Tubingen University.
- Yener KA. The Anatolian Middle Bronze Age Kingdoms and Alalakh: Mukish, Kanesh and Trade. Anatolian Studies. 2007;57:151–60
- Akar, Murat, (May 9, 2022). "From Petty Kingdoms to Empires: The Changing Social and Political Dynamics from Middle to Late Bronze Ages in Southeastern Anatolia. A Point of View from the Amuq Valley of Hatay", ARWA Association Lecture, min. 5:54.
- Akar, Murat, (May 9, 2022). "From Petty Kingdoms to Empires: The Changing Social and Political Dynamics from Middle to Late Bronze Ages in Southeastern Anatolia. A Point of View from the Amuq Valley of Hatay", ARWA Association Lecture, Abstract: "Following the collapse of Early Bronze Age networks, the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2100-1650) marks the beginning of a process of re-urbanization in Anatolia, the Near East and the Levant defined by increased supra-regional commercial activities and city building strategies reflecting a multi-vocal, vibrant landscape created by various autonomous kingdoms."
- Ingman, Tara, et al., (2021). "Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh), Hatay, Turkey during the 2nd millennium BC: Integration of isotopic and genomic evidence", in PLoS ONE 16(6), June 30, 2021, Table 1. Chronology of Tell Atchana.
- Akar, Murat, et al., (2021). "A Fresh Perspective on Middle Bronze Age at Tell Atchana, Alalakh: The 2007-2019 Seasons", in Sharon R. Steadman and Gregory McMahon (eds.), The Archaeology of Anatolia, Volume IV: Recent Discoveries (2018–2020), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 80.
- Donald J. Wiseman, Abban and Alalah, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 12, pp. 124-129, 1958
- Johnson, Michael Alexander, (2020). Crafting Culture at Alalakh: Tell Atchana and the Political Economy of Metallurgy, The University of Chicago, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, p. 1.
- Ingman, Tara, et al., (2020). "Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh) during the 2nd millennium BC: integration of isotopic and genomic evidence", in bioRxiv preprint, Table 1. Chronology of Tell Atchana, pp. 6-7.
- "IDRIMI INSCRIPTION". Archived from the original on 2009-10-20.
- Lauinger, Jacob, (2021). "Imperial and Local: Audience and Identity in the Idrimi Inscriptions", in Studia Orientalia Electronica, Vol. 9, No. 2, Finnish Oriental Society, p. 31.
- W. F. Albright, "Further Observations on the Chronology of Alalah," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, vol. 146, pp. 26-34, 1957
- Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed, p. 124
- Woolley, Leonard, (1955). Alalakh, An Account of the Excavations at Tell Atchana 1937-1949, (Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London), Oxford.
- Woolley, Sir Leonard, (1953). A Forgotten Kingdom: a Record of the Results Obtained from the Recent Important Excavation of Two Mounds, Atchana and al Mina, in the Turkish Hatay, Penguin Books, Baltimore.
- Maloigne, Hélène (2020-07-16). "Friendship and Fieldwork". History Workshop. Archived from the original on 2020-07-20. Retrieved 2021-11-08.
-  K. Aslihan Yener, Alalakh: A Late Bronze Age Capital In The Amuq Valley, Southern Turkey, Oriental Institute, 2001
-  K. Aslihan Yener, "Tell Atchana (Ancient Alalakh) Survey 2001," in Oriental Institute 2001-2002 Annual Report, pp. 13–19, 2002
-  K. Aslihan Yener, Amuq Valley Regional Projects: Tell Atchana (Alalakh) 2002, Oriental Institute, 2003
-  Yener et al., Reliving the Legend: The Expedition to Alalakh 2003, Oriental Institute, 2004
- Yener KA, editor. The Amuq Valley Regional Projects: Excavations in the Plain of Antioch: Tell Atchana, Ancient Alalakh, Vol. 1: The 2003–2004 Excavation Seasons. Istanbul: Koç University; 2010
- Yener KA, Akar M, Horowitz MT, editors. Tell Atchana, Alalakh. Volume 2: The Late Bronze II City, the 2006–2010 Excavation Seasons. Istanbul: Koç University Press; 2019.
- Yener KA. New Excavations at Alalakh: The 14th - 12th Centuries BC. In: Yener KA, editor. Across the Border: Late Bronze-Iron Age Relations Between Syria and Anatolia Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Research Center of Anatolian Studies, Koc University, Istanbul, May 31-June 1, 2010. Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement. Leuven: Peeters; 2013. p. 11–35.
- Jesse Casana, Alalakh and the Archaeological Landscape of Mukish: The Political Geography and Population of a Late Bronze Age Kingdom, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 353 , pp. 7-37, (February 2009)
- Skourtanioti, Eirini; Erdal, Yilmaz S.; Frangipane, Marcella; Balossi Restelli, Francesca; Yener, K. Aslıhan; Pinnock, Frances; Matthiae, Paolo; Özbal, Rana; Schoop, Ulf-Dietrich; Guliyev, Farhad; Akhundov, Tufan (2020-05-28). "Genomic History of Neolithic to Bronze Age Anatolia, Northern Levant, and Southern Caucasus". Cell. 181 (5): 1158–1175.e28. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.044. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 32470401. S2CID 219105572.
- VonDassow, E., Von Dassow, E. 1., Owen, D. I. 1., & Wilhelm, G. 1. (2008). State and society in the late Bronze Age: Alalaḫ under the Mittani Empire.Studies on the civilization and culture of Nuzi and the Hurrians.
- Lauinger, J. Following the Man of Yamhad, Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, Volume: 75, Brill, 2015 ISBN 978-90-04-29289-5
- Lauinger, J. (2008). The Temple of Ištar at Old Babylonian Alalakh, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, 8(2), 181-217. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/156921208786611737
- Yener KA, Ingman T, editors. Alalakh and its Neighbors: Proceedings of the 15th Anniversary Symposium at the New Hatay Archaeology Museum, June 10–12, 2015. Leiden: Peeters; 2020
- Ingman T, Eisenmann S, Skourtanioti E, Akar M, Ilgner J, Gnecchi Ruscone GA, et al. (2021) Human mobility at Tell Atchana (Alalakh), Hatay, Turkey during the 2nd millennium BC: Integration of isotopic and genomic evidence. PLoS ONE 16(6): e0241883. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241883
- Donald J. Wiseman, 1953. The Alalakh Tablets, (London: British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara); reviewed by Joan Lines in American Journal of Archaeology 59.4 (October 1955), pp. 331–332; Reprinted 1983 in series AMS Studies in Anthropology ISBN 0-404-18237-2
- Frank Zeeb, "Die Palastwirtschaft in Altsyrien nach den spätaltbabylonischen Getreidelieferlisten aus Alalah (Schicht VII)", Alter Orient und Altes Testament, no. 282. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2001, ISBN 3-934628-06-0
- Marlies Heinz, Tell Atchana, Alalakh. Die Schichten VII-XVII, Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1992.
- Nadav Na'aman, "The Ishtar Temple at Alalakh," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 209–214, 1980
- Juan Oliva, "New Collations and Remarks on Alalakh VII Tablets," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 64, no.1, pp. 1–22, 2005
- Dominique Collon, The Seal Impressions from Tell Atchana/Alalakh (Alter Orient und Altes Testament), Butzon & Bercker, 1975, ISBN 3-7666-8896-0
- Amir Sumaka'i Fink, Late Bronze Age Tell Atchana (Alalakh): Stratigraphy, chronology, history, British Archaeological Reports, 2010, ISBN 1-4073-0661-8
- C. E. Morris and J. H. Crouwel, "Mycenaean Pictorial Pottery from Tell Atchana (Alalakh)," The Annual of the British School at Athens, vol. 80, pp. 85–98, 1985
- C. Leonard Woolley, Alalakh: An Account of the Excavations at Tell, Oxford University Press, 1955
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alalakh.|