Byzantine and Russian icons, £15.99
Height: 58.400 cm
Width: 61.000 cm
Excavated by D.G. Hogarth and C.L. Woolley (1911-14)
Room 54: Anatolia and Urartu
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Basalt relief showing a storm-god
Neo-Hittite, 10th century BC
From Carchemish, south-east Anatolia (modern Turkey)
This is a fragment of a relief depicting the Syrian storm-god, identified by his knobbed horned headdress, long curl of hair and by the axe he is brandishing. The rest of the relief (now in Ankara) depicts another figure helping the god to kill a lion. It comes from the so-called 'Herald's Wall' opposite the temple of the storm god at Carchemish.
In the first millennium BC Carchemish consisted of a high citadel mound on the River Euphrates, with a walled inner town and an outer town. Excavations revealed a processional way which led to the temple of the storm god and to a monumental stairway to the citadel. The whole complex was decorated with basalt and limestone sculptures such as this.
The site was excavated by D.G. Hogarth and Leonard Woolley between 1911 and 1914. They were assisted by T.E. Lawrence who would later become famous for his military exploits in Arabia during the First World War (1914-18).
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.
D.G. Hogarth, Carchemish I (London, The British Museum Press, 1969)