A team led by U of T archaeology professor Timothy Harrison has discovered a 3,000-year-old statue of an ancient Neo-Hittite king on an excavation in southeast Turkey.
Harrison, who is leading a team of 40 students from universities across Canada, was digging at the site of Tell Ta’yinat when he found the statue, which depicts the King Suppiluliuma.
At around five feet, the partly broken sculpture is about half of its original height. Still, the remains were remarkably well preserved, including colouration around the
eyes and other artistic details. On the back of the statue, text written in Hieroglyphic Luwian explains that Suppiluliuma enlarged his kingdom’s borders and built a monument to his father.
Last summer, an ornate stone lion was uncovered at the same site.
Harrison is the director of the Ta’yinat Archaeological Project. The project’s aim is to understand more about Bronze and Iron Age civilizations. While it was previously believed that the collapse of Bronze Age empires led to the resultant collapse in artistic and creative capacities, Harrison argues that his finds prove that artistic originality continued to flourish into the Iron Age, around the 9th century BCE.