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Unveiling the Past: the Incirli Trilingual Inscription

"This page is devoted to one of the most significant finds in the history of archaeology. It has amazing significance for religious history and sheds valuable light on the culture of ancient Anatolia.In 1993 a team of UCLA archaeologists led by Professor Elizabeth Carter were undertaking a survey of the Karamanmarash Valley in present-day Turkey (right). Digging near a village called Incirli, a funny thing happened. One of the local residents informed them that a man had found a strange artifact in a mound behind his house, which he had been leveling for agricultural reasons. The mound was now sitting in his garden. Upon going to the garden and inspecting the object, Prof. Carter was amazed to discover that it was actually an ancient basalt stele (rounded stone slab) dating back to the days of the Assyrian Empire. Written in the first-person narrative by a local potentate named Awarikku, leader of a people known as the Danunites, this profound discovery contains inscriptions in Assyrian, Phoenician, and an ancient language known as Luwian. Dating to the 7th - 8th centuries BCE, this incredibly significant find could teach us much about the history of the ancient Assyrian city-states and the history of religion. Professor Bruce Zuckerman of USC and Professor Stephen Kaufman of Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati are currently working on a decipherment project to figure out what the Phoenician text on the stele says. They are hoping to publish a book on the subject sometime next year, when their lengthy analysis of the stele text is complete. In the meantime, this site provides a fascinating glimpse into their process of decipherment and the many facets of this important archaeological find."

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