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Old 05-12-2016, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default Luwian Studies - Scientist proclaim a new civilization in the Aegean Bronze age

ZURICH, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

A scientific publication, book and comprehensive website ( made public today by scientists at the Luwian Studies foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, advance and add weight to the view that Aegean prehistory (3000-1200 BCE) suffers from a pro-European bias.

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The people who established Aegean prehistory as a discipline aimed to steer research interest towards Greece. As a consequence, they disregarded cultures on Anatolian soil. Despite the fact that Troy, the most important stratified archaeological site in the world, is situated in Anatolia.

On their foundation's website, researchers at Luwian Studies have today published a comprehensive database of Middle and Late Bronze Age archaeological sites in western Turkey. This unique catalog is the result of several years of literature research and field visits. It currently covers over 340 expansive settlements, including their coordinates and aerial photographs. Geographic information systems have placed the settlements into context with rivers, lakes, mineral deposits, trade routes, flood plains and farmland to provide quantifiable data on the relationship between humans and the landscape.

The number, size, and wealth of artifacts of Bronze Age sites in western Turkey shows that this region was covered by a network of settlements and petty states throughout the 2nd millennium BCE. The names of these petty states are well known from documents of that time. If these states had formed an alliance, it would probably have surpassed the Mycenaean or Hittite realms in terms of political, economic, and military power. Since western Asia Minor possessed its own writing system since 2000 BCE, it is justifiable to speak of a civilization in its own right. Many of the people in western Asia Minor spoke Luwian, a language in the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family. For this reason, the newly recognized civilization is called "Luwian."

More information:

Book reference

Eberhard Zangger (2016): The Luwian Civilization: The Missing Link in the Aegean Bronze Age. Ege Yayınları, Istanbul. 292 pages, 148 color illustrations. ISBN 978-605-9680-11-0

About Luwian Studies

Luwian Studies is a non-governmental and non-profit foundation founded in 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland. As stated in the Canton Zurich commercial registry, the foundation's sole aim is to shed more light on the 2nd millennium BCE civilizations in western Asia Minor.

SOURCE Luwian Studies
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:40 PM   #2
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A new perspective on Aegean prehistory

This website invites you to a journey into the past, when the so-called Sea Peoples raided the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek heroes set off to conquer legendary Troy. The majority of civilizations around the Eastern Mediterranean disappeared within a few years shortly after 1200 BCE. Here you will find for the first time a coherent reconstruction of what might have happened. Instead of natural disasters and unknown invaders, the thus far little-known Luwian people will now assume the pivotal role in triggering this demise. Once their significance is acknowledged, answers to a number of hitherto puzzling questions in Mediterranean Archaeology are likely to fall into place.

During the second millennium BCE people speaking a Luwian language lived throughout Asia Minor. They were contemporaries, trading partners, and at times opponents of the well-known Minoan, Mycenaean, and Hittite cultures of Greece and Asia Minor.

However, the Luwians in Asia Minor possessed the knowledge of writing at least five centuries before it became customary at Mycenaean courts. And when the art of writing was lost in Greece at the end of the Bronze Age, it still persisted amongst Luwians for as long as half a millennium. In the 19th century European scholars discovered these Luwian inscriptions long before the first Mycenaean, Minoan, and Hittite documents.

The territory inhabited by Luwian-speaking populations was about three times as large as the core area of the Mycenaean civilization and five times as large as that of the Hittite. We know already today as many Luwian settlement sites as Mycenaean, Minoan, and Hittite combined. The world’s first large-scale excavation of a prehistoric archaeological site was Troy, a citadel in Luwian territory. And still today this is the most important stratified archaeological site in the world.

“Luwian” is used to designate people and places of the 2nd mill. BCE in western Asia Minor that clearly belonged neither to the Mycenaean realm in southern Greece nor to the Hittite kingdom in central Asia Minor. This definition leaves virtually all of western Anatolia to be occupied by what we consider Luwians.

Over the past few years, researchers at Luwian Studies have recorded substantial archaeological settlement sites in this region as they already appear dispersed in the scientific literature. This worked has been backed up by satellite image analysis, field check and extensive use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The main characteristics of the physical environment of western Asia Minor are highlighted in this map and can be activated individually. The names of the Late Bronze Age petty states in western Asia Minor are well known from Hittite documents. However, experts do not agree on their geographic positions. Different models can be selected below.

I posted this because I thought it was an interesting read.
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Old 05-12-2016, 07:12 PM   #3
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By Colin Barras

The Trojan War was a grander event than even Homer would have us believe. The famous conflict may have been one of the final acts in what one archaeologist has controversially dubbed “World War Zero” – an event he claims brought the eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age world crashing down 3200 years ago.

And the catalyst for the war? A mysterious and arguably powerful civilisation almost entirely overlooked by archaeologists: the Luwians.

By the second millennium BC, civilisation had taken hold throughout the eastern Mediterranean. The Egyptian New Kingdom coexisted with the Hittites of central Anatolia and the Mycenaeans of mainland Greece, among others.

In little more than a single generation, they had all collapsed. Was the culprit climate change? Some sort of earthquake storm? Social unrest? Archaeologists can’t seem to agree.

Eberhard Zangger, head of international non-profit, Luwian Studies, based in Zurich, Switzerland, says that’s because one crucial piece of the puzzle is missing. Another powerful civilisation in western Anatolia played a crucial role in the downfall (see video below).

His investigations of the published literature show that western Anatolia is extraordinarily rich in mineral and metal ore deposits, meaning it’s likely to have been an important region in antiquity.

Through studies of satellite imagery, Zangger has also found that the area was densely populated during the Late Bronze Age. Only a handful of the 340 large city-like sites he has identified have been excavated.

“Some of these sites are so large you can see them from space,” says Zangger. “There’s so much waiting to be found it’s really just mind-boggling.”

Hittite texts talk of several petty kingdoms in western Anatolia speaking versions of a common language – Luwian. According to Zangger, that means we can legitimately talk of them as forming a Luwian civilisation in their own right.

We know from Hittite texts that the Luwian kingdoms sometimes formed coalitions powerful enough to attack the Hittite empire. Zangger thinks that 3200 years ago the Luwians did just that and destroyed the Hittite Empire (see map, above).

Shortly after the demise of the Hittites, Egyptian texts document an attack force they termed the “Sea People”. Zangger says it makes sense to view these Sea People as the Luwians, continuing their campaign for wealth and power and, in the process, weakening and destabilising the Egyptian New Kingdom.

The Mycenaeans, perhaps anticipating an attack on their territory, formed a grand coalition of their own, says Zangger. They sailed across the Aegean and attacked the Luwians, bringing down their civilisation and destroying its key cities like Troy – events immortalised in Homer’s Iliad.

On returning to Greece, however, and in the sudden absence of any other threat, Zangger believes the Mycenaeans squabbled and fell into civil war – events hinted at in Homer’s Odyssey. Their civilisation was the last in the area to collapse.

Zangger says that only such a sequence of events fits with the evidence documented in ancient texts across the eastern Mediterranean, and also explains why the archaeological record shows that almost every large city in the region was destroyed in warfare at the end of the Bronze Age. He sets out his ideas in a new book, and on a website that launches in English today.
Bombastic storytelling – but is it true?

So what do other archaeologists make of this idea of a lost Luwian civilisation? Many stopped trying to impose this sort of monolithic cultural identity on ancient peoples decades ago, says Christoph Bachhuber at the University of Oxford.

“Archaeologists will need to discover similar examples of monumental art and architecture across western Anatolia and ideally texts from the same sites to support Zangger’s claim of a civilisation,” he says.

The textual evidence available is mainly from post-Bronze age and it paints a slightly confusing picture, which could be seen as both supporting and undermining Zangger’s theory, says Ilya Yakubovich, a historical linguist at the Philipp University of Marburg, Germany.

Zangger’s broader “World War Zero” narrative is also debatable. “He’s bringing in this idea of ancient international warfare,” says Michael Galaty at Mississippi State University. “Most archaeologists would balk at using such terminology.”

Bachhuber calls it “big bombastic storytelling” and points out that today, archaeologists are sceptical that ancient narratives like Homer’s approximate historical truth.

Zangger, however, says there are several other ancient accounts of the Trojan War that all tell a similar story to Homer. One, written in the first century AD, even refers to now-lost Egyptian monuments that documented the conflict.

Despite these criticisms, though, there is near-universal praise for the fact that Zangger’s ideas will raise the profile of Late Bronze Age archaeological research in long-neglected western Anatolia, which can only benefit the scientific community.

“He’s really getting the ball rolling to do larger holistic studies of the area,” says Bachhuber. “I’m actually quite excited that he’s bringing attention to this region.”
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