belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo
The Urartu civilization is bursting onto the scene. An Iron Age kingdom based between Lakes Van and Sevan, with a small presence near Lake Urmia, they had long been the antagonists of the Assyrians to the south and are regarded as the ancestors of the modern Armenian people. Near the chilly city of Erzurum, Turkey, a city was discovered along with temples, a water tunnel and a complicated burial tomb, possibly containing the remains of one of their kings, member of their aristocracy or a religious official. Ömer Faruk Kızılkaya is the researcher behind the find and immediately requested that the government declare the area a protected site, citing his concerns that treasure hunters were searching the area and damaging it. The province was historically within the Urartian (no I did not make that up) border but was also at the edge of the Kingdom of Diauehi (Daiaeni or Diaokhi are used too). It will be fascinating to learn how this site was incorporated into the historical kingdoms and tribes in the region as well as what, if any, role the Assyrians played in the area since they had subjugated the others.
Apparently, when it rains, it pours; another Urartian artifact has been discovered, or rather found. In the Van province of eastern Turkey, Professor Bilcan Gökçe, Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, had launched an investigation for Urartian artifacts and rediscovered a Urartian stele, having initially been found by German archaeologists in 1891. The article does not say exactly how it was overlooked or lost though. The 2,800 year old stele belonged to King Minua and consists of 36 rows of cuneiform, both as a dedication to the king’s vineyard and an account of libation rituals. These were dedicated to Haldi, the main god and a warrior deity, and the goddess of fertility and art, Arubani, his wife. Some tablets were also found nearby. King Minua was a warrior king, true to the inscription, who expanded the kingdom, built up defenses and established irrigation across the nation. Therefore, the stele can add to his personal history and add to the recorded legacy which we already know.
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