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15th Nov 2023

Archaeologists discover previously unknown ancient language

Joseph Loftus

Truly incredible

Like the opening scene from The Exorcist, archeologists have discovered something peculiar while digging around in the Middle East.

But thankfully, this isn’t a demonic object, but rather evidence of an ancient language which has remained unknown for centuries.

The ground breaking discovery is also establishing new knowledge on the way that early empires functioned.

Ongoing excavations in Turkey, in the ruins of the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire, have uncovered incredible evidence that the civil service at the time included departments fully or partly dedicated to the research of people’s religions.

The evidence suggests that in the second millennium BC, leaders in Hittite told their civil servants to record people’s religious practicings, beliefs, and other traditions by writing them down in their local languages.

So far, experts on ancient languages have discovered that Hittite civil servants recorded documents from at least five different ethnic groups and the latest example, unearthed two months ago, was written in a previously unknown Middle Eastern language which has been lost for up to 3,000 years.

Over many decades, over 30,000 complete and fragmentary clay tablet documents have been discovered in the ancient Hittite capital, now known as Bogazkoy, located 100 miles east of modern day Turkey’s capital, Ankara.

While the majority of the texts were written in the empire’s main language, Hittite, others were written in the languages of the empire’s minority groups, such as the Luewians, Palaians, Hattians, and Hurrians.

The most recently discovered language is being referred to as Kalamaic, as it seems to have been spoke by people in an area known as Kalasma, towards the north west of the empire.

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