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Birecik

The basalt stele shows the goddess Kubaba standing below a winged sun-disk and holding a mirror in her right hand and a pomegranate in her left hand. Kubaba was the protective deity of the city of Karkamış. The stele without the base is about 1.25 meters high (including the tenon) and 48 cm wide. It was already in the citadel of Birecik during the middle of 18th century BCE, although according to the locals it had originated from the city of Manbij in Syria, which is located about 40 km south of Karkamış.

The base of the stele was found separately by T. E. Lawrence in early 1910s in the village of Yusuf Beg, about 7 km southwest of the city of Karkamış, as reported by Woolley. Also made of basalt it is 42 cm high, 81 cm wide, and has a depth of 33 cm. The 2-line Luwian inscription is a dedication of a granary to the goddess Kubaba by an official, whose name and title is inscribed on the right side of the base.

There is not any information about how the pieces entered into the collection of the British Museum and it is unclear when and how it was decided to combine the two pieces, but the mortise hole at the top of the base is apparently a match for the tenon of the stele. This must have been supported by the reasonably close proximity of their find spots and the matching theme of Kubaba on both pieces. The stele and the base may be dated to the 10th to 9th centuries BCE. They are currently in the British Museum.


Click on the pictures for larger images.

British Museum J.D. Hawkins, 2000



Literature:
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin, 2000: 177-78 and plt. 61. (KARKAMIŠ A30h)
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur späthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971. (Birecik 1)

Image sources:
British Museum
J. David Hawkins, 2000.