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Alalakh lies on the Orontes about half a dozen kilometres upriver from Antakya

This Bronze Age city, known now as Tell Atchana, lies in the Amuq Valley in Hatay Province and was founded by the Amorites in the 2nd millennium BC. Its history is written in tablets dating from its first known king, Alakhtum, who ruled in the 18th century BC, by which time a palace had already been established. Several hundred cuneiform tablets have been found.

An inscribed statue of King Idrimi and a tablet ratifying an agreement between Idrim and King Pillia of neighouring Kizzuwatna, Cilicia are both now in the British Museum as a result of excavations undertaken in the 1930s and 40s by Sir Leonard Woolley, who identified temples, private dwellings and fortifications in 17 layers of occupation. Excavations of the 22-hectare site are today in the hands of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Mustafa Kemal University in Antakya.

Take a youtube stroll round the site here. Tell Atchana was the subject of an exhibtion and book, The Forgotten Kingdom: Archaeology and Photography at Ancient Alalakh, at ANAMED, Istanbul, in 2014. The book is available from New finds the impact of foreign influences, those of the Hittite overlords in particular, are discussed by Professor K Aslıhan Yener, in the BIAA’s 2017 Oliver Guerney Memorial Lecture in London.

More Reading
  • Book
    The Forgotten Kingdom
    Dilek Barlas, Murat Akar, Hélène Maloigne, Rachael Sparks, Dominique Collon, Emily C. Arauz, K. Aslıhan Yener
    Edited by Murat Akar, Hélène Maloigne
    Translated by Azer Keskin, Sim İris Belik, Müge Bulu
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Issue 66, December 2023 Turkey’s Centenary Issue
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