The stone slab is a testimony that people believed in the immortality of the soul at that time.
Read aloud A tombstone plate found in Turkey from the 8th century BC suggests that the people of that time believed in an immortal soul. This is what scientists from the University of Chicago conclude from the inscription on the stone plate, which says that the soul of the deceased lives in the stone stele. The unusual find comes from Zincirli in southeastern Turkey. The expedition to David Schloen from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago had discovered the over 360-pound stone slab in the summer of this year in excavation work in the ancient city of Samal. Samal was once the capital of a great kingdom and today is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Iron Age. The deciphering of the inscription revealed that it is the grave plate of a man named Kuttamuwa, a servant of the then king Panamuwa. The inscription states that Kuttamuwa wrote it herself and believes that his soul will live on in the stone slab. In addition, Kuttamuwa is pictured on the grave plate itself, with a coat, a pointed cap and a glass of wine in his hand.

"The stone slab is in almost perfect condition and shows a unique combination of text and picture elements, " says David Schloen. "It is an important addition to our knowledge of ancient languages ​​and cultures." The tomb clearly shows that in ancient Samal, Semitic and Indo-European cultures were simultaneously alive. Thus, the names Kuttamuwa and Panamuwa are of Indo-European origin, while the epitaph is written in a Western Semitic dialect.

The inscription expresses the belief that the soul of the deceased is immortal and lives on in the stone stele, which bears the name and image of the deceased. By contrast, in traditional Semitic belief, the soul dwells in the bones of the dead.

The excavation site Zincirli was already examined by German archaeologists around 1890, whereby massive city walls, gates and palaces were discovered. Some royal inscriptions were found on stone slabs. However, the tomb slab of Kuttamuwa is the first of its kind found intact in its original location. In future expeditions, Schloen and his team want to dig up large areas of the ancient site to better understand the social and economic structure of the city and its culture. display

David Schloen (University of Boston, USA) et al .: SBL Annual Meeting ddp / Christine Amrhein


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