Tell Tayinat (Tell Tainat) is located about 25km to the city of Antakya. The site is about 800 meters to the site of Tell AÁana. After the demise of the Hittite Empire and abandonment of nearby Tell AÁana, Tell Tayinat became an important site in the Iron Age. The name of the city was Kunulua and it was the capital city of the Neo-Hittite kingdom Walastin/Palastin also known as Patina or Unqi in Assyrian sources. The city came under Assyrian attack in the mid-9th century BCE. Around 738 BCE it permanently became Assyrian territory. Several of its rulers bore Hittite imperial names like Labarna and äuppiluliuma (Lubarna and äapalulme in Assyrian sources). Initial excavations at the site were carried out between 1935 and 1938 by the Oriental Institute of University of Chicago under Robert Braidwood. Renewed excavations are ongoing since 2004 by a team from University of Toronto led by Timothy Harrison. Several statues, orthostats, and ornamented column bases dating from the 10th and 8th century BCE as well as later Assyrian periods have been unearthed. Some of the earlier finds are displayed in the Oriental Institute of Chicago. Many others are in Antakya Museum.
Inscribed fragments of a colossal statue of a seated figure were found near the East Gate in 1936. It was probably similar to the one that was found at the King's Gate of KarkamżĢ. Among the few readable words of the inscription (TELL TAYINAT 1) that was written over the statue is the name Halparuntiya and the place name Walastin. Paleographically the inscription has been dated to the 10th century BCE. Thus, this Halparuntiya is assumed to be a predecessor of his namesake mentioned in Assyrian sources as Qalparunda in 857 and 853 BCE. The kingdom's name Walastin also appears in Arsuz and Meharde and Sheizar inscriptions and as Palastin in Aleppo inscriptions. Several other fragments that were found in different areas of the site has been put together to form parts of a rectangular block with a 5-line Hieroglyphic Luwian inscription (TELL TAYINAT 2). Paleographically the inscription dates to the 8th century BCE.
Important monumental finds of the recent excavations include in 2011 a large portal lion, in 2012 a colossal statue of a local king identified as Suppiluliuma with an inscription on its back (TELL TAYINAT 4) and a column base decorated with reliefs of sphinxes, in 2017 an equally large statue of a female, perhaps a queen. There are many more fragmental sculpture and inscription pieces from the Neo-Hittite period.
Click on the pictures for larger images.
|During excavations in 1935-38|
|Fragments of a Monumental Statue and TELL TAYINAT 1 inscription|
Fragments of TELL TAYINAT 2 inscription
TELL TAYINAT 3 inscription
Statue of Suppiluliuma and TELL TAYINAT 4 Inscription
Other sculptured and inscribed items
Haines, R. C. Excavations in the Plain of Antioch, Vol. II (OIP 95), Chicago, 1971.
Hawkins, J. D. Corpus of Hieroglyphic Luwian Inscriptions, Vol 1, Berlin, 2000: 361Ė78 and Plts. 189Ė98.
Orthmann, W. Untersuchungen zur spšthethitischen Kunst, Bonn, 1971.
Tayinat Archaeological Project: reports and publications
Richard Haines, 1971.
Ignace J. Gelb, Hittite Hieroglyphic Monuments (OIP 45), Chicago, 1939.
J. David Hawkins, 2000.
Tayfun Bilgin, 2010, 2019.
Ertuūrul Anżl, 2015.
Tayinat Archaeological Project.
CŁneyt SŁer, 2015.
Bora Bilgin, 2006, 2015.
Mark Weeden, NABU, 2015.