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The Hittite Names of Kerkenes Dağ and Kuşaklı Höyük

  • O. R. Gurney


A major Hittite city-mound in the vicinity of the Kerkenes Dağ having been identified by Dr. Summers (see previous article), the question naturally arises whether their ancient Hittite names can be determined. Unfortunately this central area of the Hittite kingdom was completely distorted in The Geography of the Hittite Empire (1959) by the misplacing of Pala-Tumanna and Nerik and the places, such as Mt. Ḫaḫarwa, associated with them. Allusions to “the sea” locate these places firmly, with Zalpa, at the opposite end of the zone occupied by the Kaška folk, in the far north by the mouth of the Kızıl Irmak, and the maps in that book must be disregarded.

Kuşaklı Höyük stands in the basin of the Kanak Su which rises just above the site of Alişar. This stream is a tributary of the Delice Su which flows north-westward into the Kızıl Irmak and which Forlanini has suggested might be the Hittite “Red River”, said to have “mingled its waters with the Maraššantiya”, but the Kanak Su and its tributaries have not yet been certainly identified in the Hittite texts.



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1 See Houwink ten Cate, , Florilegium Anatolicum, 160–1; Macqueen, J. G., AS XXX 179 ff.; and my article “Hittite Geography, 30 years on” in Festschrift für Sedat Alp (1992), 213 ff.

2 SMEA XVIII, 205; accepted by Alp, S., Hethitische Briefe aus Maşat Höyük, 41. The only reference to this river in a military context is as the assembly point for a campaign against Takkašta (KBo. II 5 ii 2). This would then have been to the north, near its confluence with the Kızıl Irmak.

3 Sedat Alp, op. cit. 17 f., 28, 42 f.

4 Alp, Sedat, Belleten XLI 637 ff. with local map p. 647; op. cit. 32 ff.

5 AN.TAḪ.ŠUM: Güterbock, , JNES 19, 80 ff., NHF 63–66; Houwink ten Cate, , Kaniššuwar, 95 ff. Nuntariyašḫaš: Geography, 10 (“Festival List”); Košak, , Linguistica XVI (1976), 5564; H. ten Cate, , Documentum Asiae Minoris Antiquae (Fs. H. Otten), 167 ff.; studied by Goetze, , RHA XV/61 (1957), 93 ff.

6 Güterbock, , JNES 20, 89 f., NHF 64; RGTC VI, 34.

7 Several earlier suggestions are recorded in RGTC VI. Forlanini in SMEA XXII 74 n. 21 supports Cornelius' identification with Nefezköy/Tavium 16 km south of Boğazköy, . Börker-Klähn, J. in Fs Bittel (1983) revived Forrer's proposal of 1929, the mound by the Delice Su near Yerköy opposite the warm springs of Ucuz Hamam and now called Bulamaşli Höyük. This site, though otherwise suitable, is 60 km. from the capital, surely too far for the requirements of the text. Most recently Erkut, Sedat in Fs Alp, 1992, 159 ff., has claimed Alaca Hüyük as its site, on the strength of the possibility that a certain Zuwa mentioned on the fragmentary tablet found there might be the same person as the Zuwa who is elsewhere attested as having charge of gold and silver ornaments belonging to the Sun-goddess of Arinna (for another proposal for Alaca Hüyük see below, n. 11). Cf. Ünal, A., Belleten, XLV/180, 1981, 451 ff., SMEA 24, 1984, and AS XLIV 216.

8 The text is here restored by KUB LV 5 I 12 ff., version F in the treatment by H. ten Cate, in Documentum Asiae Minoris Antiquae (Fs. H. Otten), 167 ff. This text breaks off before the visit to Zippalanda. The parallel with the spring festival suggests that this is part of the outward journey rather than on the return via Katapa.

9 Identification proposed by Gelb, , Inscriptions from Alishar, 9 f., but his arguments are very weak, since the name occurs on only three tablets. It was discussed by Bilgiç, E., AfO XV 30 f., and rejected by Ünal, A., SMEA XXIV (1984), 87107, but defended by Kempinsky and Košak, , Tel Aviv 9 (1982), 107 f. and more recently by Gorny, R. in AS XLIII (1993), 163 ff., with fresh arguments. It may be hoped that Dr. Gorny's recently resumed excavations at the site will provide decisive evidence for or against. But both Ünal and Forlanini would place Ankuwa somewhere in the Kanak Su valley not far from Alişar. See also below.

10 KUB XXV 28 i 1–10; RGTC VI, 20; Kempinsky–Košak, loc. cit.

11 KBo. XXX 155 rev. 4–11; KUB XX 25 + X 78. Thus Zippalanda can hardly have been at Alaca Hüyük, as recently maintained by Popko, M. (Zippalanda, Texte der Hethiter 21. 1994, 11 ff.). If there had been night stops on the way. they would surely have been mentioned, as in XXV 28.

12 Forlanini, in Hethitica VI, 47 with n. 11 and Atlante Storico (1986) p. 2. For the same reason Ünal locates Kuššara at Alişar (op. cit. 105, and RIA VI 381).

13 KBo XV 28, Archi, , SMEA XVI 135, Ünal, , RHA XXXI 53. In the same text but in broken context the river Imralla is mentioned. This could then be the name of the Eğri Öz Su, the stream by Kuşaklı Höyük, as entered on Forlanini' map, loc. cit. On this tributary of the Kanak Su cf. Anderson, J. C., Studia Pontica I 26.

14 KBo IV 4 iii 26 f., Götze, , AM 126.

15 Forlanini, in Atlante Storico (1986) p. 2 puts Katapa at “Babali”, apparently his name for Kuşaklı Höyük itself (see Studia Mediterranea P. Meriggi Dicata, 1979, 180 n. 76), just as we did in the Geography. The autumn festival started at Katapa, possibly because the king had been in winter quarters there (Güterbock, , JNES XX, 90 f.). But there was no sacred mountain at Katapa, and this now seems too far south to be the place where the “Festival of the Nerik road” was celebrated (KUB XXV 10 iv 1–7, cf. Güterbock, ibid.). Forlanini's “Çamurlu” is Cemali, a mound south of Kerkenes Dağ now flooded by the Esenli dam (information from Dr. Summers).

16 On Mt. Daḫa see Gonnet, H., RHA XXVI/83, no. 128. It is included among the deities of Zippalanda in Muwatalli's Prayer, KUB VI 45/46 (Geography, p. 116).

The Hittite Names of Kerkenes Dağ and Kuşaklı Höyük

  • O. R. Gurney


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