History of the Byzantine empire, £8.99
Height: 100.000 cm
Width: 55.000 cm
Thickness: 40.000 cm
Excavated by D.G. Hogarth and C.L. Woolley (1911-14)
Basalt door jamb
Neo-Hittite, around 880 BC
From Carchemish, south-east Anatolia (modern Turkey)
The goddess Kubaba, queen of Carchemish
This piece of basalt is part of a door-jamb and comes from the Neo-Hittite city of Carchemish. In the Luwian hieroglyphic inscription, Katuwa, king of Carchemish claims to have re-established the goddess Kubaba as queen of Carchemish. Kubaba was a later version of the Hurrian goddess Hepat who, as the consort of the storm god Teshub, had figured prominently in the Hittite pantheon during the thirteenth century BC.
After the collapse of the Hittite empire, around 1200 BC, Hittite culture survived in parts of Syria such as Carchemish which had once been under their power. These Neo-Hittites wrote Luwian, a language related to Hittite, using a hieroglyphic script first seen in the second millennium BC.
By the first millennium BC Carchemish consisted of a high citadel mound on the River Euphrates, with a walled inner town and an outer town. Although this door jamb was excavated by P. Henderson in 1879, the main excavations were undertaken by D.G. Hogarth and Leonard Woolley between 1911 and 1914. They were assisted by T.E. Lawrence. The excavations revealed a processional way which led to the temple of the storm god and to the citadel stairway. The whole complex was decorated with limestone and basalt sculptures such as this one.
C.L. Woolley, Carchemish III (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1952)