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Who Were the Hurrians?
Archaeology Magazine ^ | July/August 2008 | Andrew Lawler

Posted on 06/25/2008 6:23:45 PM PDT by blam

Who Were the Hurrians?

Volume 61 Number 4, July/August 2008

New discoveries in Syria suggest a little-known people fueled the rise of civilization

Excavations at the 3rd millennium city of Urkesh in Syria are revealing new information about the mysterious people who lived there, known as the Hurrians. This view of the city's royal palace shows the service area (left) and living quarters (right). (Ken Garrett)

With its vast plaza and impressive stone stairway leading up to a temple complex, Urkesh was designed to last. And for well over a millennium, this city on the dusty plains of what is now northeastern Syria was a spiritual center for a puzzling people called the Hurrians. All but forgotten by history, their origin remains obscure, but excavations led by husband-and-wife UCLA archaeologists Georgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati over the past quarter century reveal that the Hurrians were far more than just another wandering tribe in the fractious Middle East. And during last year's season, they found compelling evidence that the Hurrians not only strongly influenced the language, culture, and religion of later peoples, but also may have been present 1,000 years earlier--just as nearby Mesopotamians began to create the first cities.

Archaeologist Giorgio Buccellati has been leading excavations at Urkesh for nearly 20 years. (Ken Garrett)

That idea is at odds with a long-held belief among scholars that the Hurrians arrived much later from the Caucasus or some other distant region to the northeast, drawn to the fringes of civilization after the rise of the great southern Sumerian centers of Ur, Uruk, and Nippur. Scholars long assumed that the Hurrians arrived in the middle of the third millennium B.C., and eventually settled down and adopted cuneiform as a script and built their own cities. That theory is based on linguistic associations with Caucasus' languages and the fact that Hurrian names are absent from the historical record until Akkadian times.

Project ceramicist Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati (right) examines vessels with volunteer archaeologist Mary Stancavage, in the area of the palace where all the pieces were unearthed. (Ken Garrett)

But Piotr Michaelowski, an Assyriologist at the University of Michigan, notes that Hurrian, like Sumerian, is a language unrelated to Semitic or Indo-European tongues that dominated the region during and after the third millennium B.C. Perhaps, he suggests, the Hurrians were earlier inhabitants of the region, who, like the Sumerians, had to make room for the Semitic-speaking people who created the world's first empire based at Akkad in central Mesopotamia around 2350 B.C.

The discovery of a sophisticated city with monumental architecture, plumbing, stonework, and a large population contradicts the idea that Hurrians were a roving mountain people in a strange land. Far from being yet another rough nomadic tribe, such as the Amorites or Kassites who were latecomers to the Mesopotamian party, the Hurrians and their unique language, music, deities, and rituals may have played a key role in shaping the first cities, empires, and states. The language has died, the music faded, and the rituals are forgotten. But thanks to the sculptors, stone masons, and seal carvers at Urkesh, Hurrian creativity can shine once again.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 4averyimportantdate; ancient; caria; carian; carians; catastrophism; civilization; godsgravesglyphs; hurrians; kreti; minoan; minoans; notime2sayhello; syria; tarshish; theywerelate

1 posted on 06/25/2008 6:28:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 06/25/2008 6:28:40 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

They were the forebears of the Russians.


3 posted on 06/25/2008 6:29:35 PM PDT by Tribune7 (How is inflicting pain and death on an innocent, helpless human being for profit, moral?)
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To: blam

Did the Hurrians have waiters?


4 posted on 06/25/2008 6:32:56 PM PDT by decimon
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To: blam

So why are the Hurrians always named alphabetically.


5 posted on 06/25/2008 6:41:22 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: blam

Several thoughts here:

1. Clearly, this merits a lot more research. There must be no delay in digging up every square inch of Syria, and I think we should extend that to the Bekaa Valley. Upside down and inside out. Important for the advancement of knowledge, don’t you know.

2. Since these people are extinct, we can tell ethnic jokes about them. Did you hear the one about the two Hurrian guys in the elevator?

3. I’m not sure I’d tell people I was an Assyriologist.


6 posted on 06/25/2008 6:51:00 PM PDT by Humble Servant
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To: blam
...Who Were the Hurrians?...

People who walked around very fast?

7 posted on 06/25/2008 6:52:01 PM PDT by FReepaholic (Me no bottom man. Me top man.)
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To: FReepaholic
...Who Were the Hurrians?...

I thought they were some Indians from around the Great Lakes somewhere.

8 posted on 06/25/2008 7:00:36 PM PDT by seowulf
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To: blam

bookmark


9 posted on 06/25/2008 7:05:01 PM PDT by Puddleglum
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In inscriptions of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser I (1280-1261 B.C.) we find the first occurrence of the term Uruatri... eight countries, collectively referred to as Uruatri, situated in a mountainous region to the southeast of Lake Van... the Assyrian name of Uruatri had no ethnic significance... (perhaps meaning 'the mountainous country')... In Assyrian inscriptions of the 11th century B.C., we again find the term Uruatri, and from the second quarter of the 9th century, in the reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.), it is of common occurrence, in the form Urartu, being used concurrently with the name of Nairi... (Boris B. Piotrovsky, Urartu pp 43-45)
the web archive version:
In Search of Hurrian Urkesh
by Giorgio Buccellati
and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati
We know that Urkesh was... a real city as well. In 1948, two bronze lions appeared on the antiquities market; the lions are inscribed with a text in which a king by the name of Tish-atal boasts of having built a temple in Urkesh. But since the provenance of these lions is not known, the location of the city until recently was also unknown... Our excavations, however, have proved that Urkesh was located at the remote north Syrian site of Tell Mozan.
The author of the following is another "Aryan" flake.
Proto-Indoaryans, Mitanni, Hurrians
Hurrian texts maintained in the Hittite archives, coupled with Hurrian loan words in Luwian and the Hurrians' own inscriptions and texts in north Mesopotamia which date as early as the twenty-third century BC, all speak for an additional non-Indo-European presence on the eastern borders of the Indo-Europeans of Anatolia..."(J.P. Mallory, In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth, London, Thames and Hudson, 1989).

There is a great number of Hurrian gods mentioned in Hittite texts, and many of these are descriptions of cult festivals. Since most texts are fragmentary and, therefore, cannot be dated exactly, we only pick a few significant examples. The texts for the his'uwa festival have just been mentioned. Most revealing is a prayer of king Muwatalli. Already in the invocation of the main gods at the beginning of the text, Hebat occurs. The king then asks the bull S'eris' to intercede for him, and calls him 'Bull of the Weathergod of Hatti', which means that this Hurrian bull had entered the circle of the gods of the capital." (Guterbock, H.G., The Hurrian Element in the Hittite Empire, in: Hoffner, Jr., Harry A. (ed.), Perspectives on Hittite CIvilization: selected writings of Hans Gustav Guterbock, Chicago, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1997)

10 posted on 06/25/2008 7:10:02 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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Archaeologists say the Urartians failed to overcome harsh winter conditions
Turkish Daily News | Friday, March 3, 2006 | Dogan Daily News
Posted on 03/03/2006 8:19:01 AM PST by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1589276/posts

Lycian Influence To The Indian Cave Temples
The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent | spring of 2000 | Takeo Kamiya
Posted on 07/11/2005 10:37:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1440990/posts

Capital City Of Ancient Superpower Discovered (Medes)
Independent (UK) | 10-26-2002 | David Keys
Posted on 10/26/2002 12:56:48 PM PDT by blam
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/776390/posts


11 posted on 06/25/2008 7:11:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; ..
One of *those* topics.
 
Catastrophism
 
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12 posted on 06/25/2008 7:12:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: blam
Interesting ~ no doubt another Dravidian language with a presence in Sumer.

These guys are credited with being the first people to bring domesticated horses to Mesopotamia.

The Iranians have recently found/redated ruins to this earlier period ~

13 posted on 06/25/2008 7:13:28 PM PDT by muawiyah (We need a "Gastank For America" to win back Congress)
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
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Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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14 posted on 06/25/2008 7:13:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: blam
Who Were the Hurrians?

Don't know.

But for all their hurrian, they still aren't here.

15 posted on 06/25/2008 7:17:23 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain -- Those denying the War was Necessary Do NOT Support the Troops!)
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To: blam

From: Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible: Hurrians.

Hurrians.

People (also called Mitannians) who spoke a language different from Semitic and Indo-European, and yet played a significant cultural role in the Near East during the 2nd millennium b.c., particularly in transmitting the culture of Sumer and Babylon to western Asia and to the Hittites. The presence of Hurrians in an area can be inferred from the presence of Hurrian texts, the presence of people with Hurrian names (or Indo-Iranian as explained below), and from statements in other ancient literature, including the OT.

At the beginning of the 2nd millennium, and even somewhat before, Hurrians are found in the northernmost parts of Mesopotamia, having come there presumably from still farther north. They are found in the 18th century b.c. at Mari and Alalakh, and in the 15th and 14th centuries b.c. at Nuzi, Ugarit, Alalakh, a few cities in Palestine, and especially in their political center of Mitanni. During this latter period their rulers were actually an aristocracy of Indo-Iranian extraction, who often retained their Indo-Iranian names, but who in other respects had adopted Hurrian language, religion, and general culture, and so were for all practical purposes Hurrians.

The main question concerning Hurrian presence is the extent to which they were influential in Palestine, and here the evidence is not clear. The Amarna Letters, written by the Mitannian/Hurrian kings and by petty kings of Palestine to the Egyptian pharaohs during the 14th century, refer to a few Palestinian kings with Hurrian (some Indo-Iranian) names such as Abdikhepa of Jerusalem. However, the letters, written in Akkadian by the scribes of these Palestinian kings, betray a local Canaanite rather than Hurrian speech. On the other hand, the Egyptians referred to Palestine as the land of the Hurrians, and indeed one pharaoh claimed to have captured 36,000 Hurrians there, but this could mean inhabitants of Palestine rather than ethnic Hurrians. In view of the evidence of the Amarna Letters, it is likely that Palestine was only nominally Hurrian.

Furthermore, the extent to which Hurrians are referred to by ethnic terms in the OT is likewise problematic. Some scholars believe that the Hurrians are the biblical Horites (Gn 14:6; 36:20–30; Dt 2:12, 22). Linguistically this is possible, but the Horites are always located at Mt Seir, whereas the Hurrians are at Jerusalem, Taanach, Megiddo, Acco, Achshaph, Shechem, and possibly Hebron, but not likely at Mt Seir. In addition, the names of the Horites in Genesis 36 appear Semitic rather than Hurrian. Finally, if the Horites of Mt Seir are contemporary with Esau, who married the daughter of a Horite chief, this would be too early for patriarchal contacts with Hurrian penetration in the south, if the early date of the patriarchs is sustained by the newly discovered Ebla tablets.

A second theory identifies the Hivites as Hurrians, the linguistic differences between the two names usually being explained as due to confusion of similar-looking Hebrew consonants by the later scribes. In support of the Hivite identification of Hurrians it is pointed out that in two passages (Gn 34:2; Jos 9:7) the Septuagint (Greek translation) understands Hivites to be Hurrians, while in Genesis 36:2, 29 Zibeon is called both Hivite and Horite, the latter identified as Hurrian. However, the former argument places too much weight on the Septuagint, which may simply be mistaken, and the latter argument amounts again to the claim that the Mt Seir Horites were Hurrians.

A third theory sees the Hittites of Genesis 23 as Hurrians. While it is true that the term “Hittite” is often broad and may include ethnic Hurrians, this theory faces the same chronological difficulties as the first. On the other hand, it may well be that the later Hittite, Uriah, and Arauna the Jebusite were Hurrians, the name “Arauna” often being interpreted as clearly Hurrian.

The above theories all assume that a people will be referred to by a distinctive ethnic term. Alternatively, one might admit a Hurrian presence in Palestine and see them referred to (along with other peoples) under broad terms such as “Canaanite.”


16 posted on 06/25/2008 7:21:01 PM PDT by B-Cause (It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.)
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To: Tribune7; muawiyah

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurrians#Language

The Hurrians spoke an ergative-agglutinative language, conventionally called Hurrian, unrelated to neighboring Semitic or Indo-European languages, but clearly related to Urartian — a language spoken about a millennium later in northeastern Anatolia — and possibly, very distantly, to the present-day Northeast Caucasian languages. Some scholars relate the Hurrian language also to Georgian and its associated South Caucasian or Kartvelian languages.[3] Similarities to Hurrian words have also been suggested in neighboring languages such as Armenian.[4][5] It is believed by some scholars that the Hurrians arrived in the Caucasus around 2700 BC.[6]

The Hurrians adopted the Akkadian cuneiform script for their own language about 2000 BC. This has enabled scholars to read the Hurrian language. Because the number of Hurrian texts discovered is small, and because many Sumerian logograms are used, masking the phonetic shapes of the Hurrian words they represent, understanding of the Hurrian language is far from complete and many words are missing from their vocabulary.

Texts in the Hurrian language have been found at Hattusa, Ugarit (Ras Shamra), as well as one of the longest of the Amarna letters, written by King Tushratta of Mitanni to Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was the only long Hurrian text known until a multi-tablet collection of literature in Hurrian with a Hittite translation was discovered at Hattusas in 1983.

According to medieval Islamic sources, the language spoken by Hurrian tribes that primarily belonged to the Yazdanism sect of religious belief spoke a Proto-Pehlewani language.[7] The Hurrian influence on the modern Kurdish language is still evident in its ergativic grammatical structure and in its toponyms.[8]


17 posted on 06/25/2008 7:21:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_________________________Profile updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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To: FReepaholic
...Who Were the Hurrians?...

People who walked around very fast?

Yes, they were always rushed, and their favorite symbol was a red bull.

18 posted on 06/25/2008 7:24:42 PM PDT by eldoradude (Let's water the tree of liberty with THEIR blood...)
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To: SunkenCiv
Definitely ~ so let me translate that ~ the deal is the Hurrian language borrowed a tremendous number of words from a variety of different languages in different groups.

This tends to overshadow Hurrian grammar, particularly since the largest body of Hurrian literature was actually translated into a different language.

This all took place before most Indo-European languages had solidified into their current forms.

We were just discussing the Druze last week. Early Druze made their living as "scribes". They failed to preserve even the slightest element of their original language, particularly as they acquired all the good lookin' chicks from all the major tribes and nations in the Middle East!

Being a scribe was a doggone good job!

19 posted on 06/25/2008 7:38:53 PM PDT by muawiyah (We need a "Gastank For America" to win back Congress)
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To: SunkenCiv

When I was Hurrian to get home, Iran :-)


20 posted on 06/25/2008 7:55:05 PM PDT by Tribune7 (How is inflicting pain and death on an innocent, helpless human being for profit, moral?)
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To: Humble Servant
There must be no delay in digging up every square inch of Syria,

Perhaps they would find signs of ancient Hurranian WMDs.

21 posted on 06/25/2008 8:07:11 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Tribune7
They were the forebears of the Russians.

Nice play on words; but it's also partly true.

22 posted on 06/25/2008 8:11:20 PM PDT by Migraine (Diversity is great (until it happens to YOU)...)
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To: FReepaholic

The arch-enemies of the Slo-Pokians.


23 posted on 06/25/2008 8:37:43 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: Salamander

I think my first sergeant was a Hurrian. He was always yelling about that. I think he was proud of it because it was like he was bragging: “Hurry up, hurry up.”


24 posted on 06/25/2008 8:49:29 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (I am not from Vermont. I lived there for four years and that was enough.)
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To: blam

The Hurrians were the guys whose wives were the Harridans, thus they were never had time to rest and so went extinct.


25 posted on 06/25/2008 9:23:16 PM PDT by Redcitizen (I need ammunition like a day needs sunshine. =))
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To: Vermont Lt

Then you should have DNA tests to see if you have Slo-Pokian or Amblinalong genes.....:)


26 posted on 06/25/2008 9:31:16 PM PDT by Salamander (And don't forget my Dog; fixed and consequent......)
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To: Redcitizen

But plenty of the Harridans survived. I know because my ex-wife was one.


27 posted on 06/25/2008 9:35:05 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: Humble Servant
I’m not sure I’d tell people I was an Assyriologist.


28 posted on 06/25/2008 9:48:04 PM PDT by kitchen (Any day without a fair tax thread is a good day.)
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To: Salamander; Vermont Lt

Here is a Russian explaining a crowd of Hurrians ..... sort of .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM35oAh93gQ


29 posted on 06/25/2008 9:59:03 PM PDT by shibumi (".....panta en pasin....." - Origen)
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