Ancient Hittite hieroglyphics discovered in Turkey’s
Yazılıkaya Rock Temple, whose excavation started nearly 200 years ago, have now provided new insight for researchers.
Researchers with updates
More than 3,200 years following its construction, an international team of researchers has presented a template that places all of the 90-plus figures in a coherent context.
Last week, the Switzerland-based Luwian Studies
group released a video detailing how the carvings reveal the Hittite deities and their rituals as well as an ‘underworld’ that apparently exists inside the earth’s crust.
The archaeological gem features 90 figures etched into the rock over 3,000 years ago.
The carvings were completely unique to anything previously seen in either Egypt or Mesopotamia. Several of the images also featured mysterious hieroglyphics. However, it was also revealed that the sanctuary was apparently among the Hittite’s most important religious sites.
When the hieroglyphic script was deciphered in the 20th century, it became apparent that all of the figures carved into the bedrock reflect their deities.
The sanctuary depicts a religious procession of the highest-ranked Hittite deities including a strict order of dominance.
The ceremony shows the supreme deities standing at the center which is due north while all the other lower-level deities march in his direction.
Virtually all of the figures coming from the left are mala. Virtually all those coming from the right are female.
Hittites in the Bible
The Hittites were a prominent nation throughout the Bible. Ephron the Hittite sold the burial plot in Hebron to Abraham. (Genesis 23); Esau married Hittite women. Rebecca hated the Hittites (Genesis 26:34). They are also listed as among the inhabitants of Canaan in Exodus 13:5; Numbers 13:29; and Joshua 11:3. King David had Uriah the Hittite killed to take his wife Batsheva (2 Samuel 11); King Solomon also married Hittites (1 Kings 10:29–11:2; 2 Chronicles 1:17). Additionally, Ezekiel degrades Israel using a metaphor of a Hittite mother (Ezekiel 16:3, 45).
A Hittite cosmos
The sanctuary also symbolizes the cosmos by showing the order that came about after the chaos was overcome during creation. The Hittite cosmos involves levels including the earth on which people live in the sky above as well as an underworld below.
Their cosmos also reveals cycles of temporary death followed by rebirth every night.
According to their culture, the sun sets every night only to be reborn the next morning while the moon disappears only to reappear. The crops whither in winter and are born again in the spring.
Since these supreme deities are located in the far north, the researchers offer a novel idea. Since the deities seem to be connected to the circumpolar region of the sky, the stars in this region never disappear under the horizon. Instead, they are continuously visible from the sky. This phenomenon shows that the Hittite religion had things in common with the religions of ancient Egypt as well as Babylon. However, it also reveals that the Hittites also maintained a rather unique culture of its own.