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6 September 2010
Tablets of first written trade agreement unearthed in Anatolia

Professor Cahit Gunbatti of Ankara University's Faculty of Letters, History and Geography said the first written trade agreement in Anatolia was made 4,000 years ago. "We have discovered the cuneiform-script tablets in Kultepe-Karum excavations in (the Central Anatolian province of) Kayseri," Gunbatti said.
     Archeologists have been carrying out excavations in Karum hamlet near Kultepe tumulus, where Assyrians used to live, since 1948. They have unearthed some 23,000 cuneiform-script tablets so far. "Around 4,500 tablets have been smuggled abroad since 1948," Gunbatti said. Assyrian tradesmen who settled in the region 4,000 years ago sold the tin and fabrics they brought from Mesopotamia. "The Assyrian Kingdom in Mesopotamia made written trade agreements with Kanesh Kingdom and Hahhum Kingdom near Adiyaman," he said.
     Kultepe flourished most strongly as an important merchant colony (karum) of the Old Assyrian kingdom, from ca. 20th to 16th centuries BCE. It is the site of discovery of the earliest traces of the Hittite language, and the earliest attestation of any Indo-European language, dated to the 20th century BCE.

Source: AINA (29 August 2010)

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