22 sep 09

Efe | Berlín
Descubren una cámara mortuoria intacta en el palacio real de Qatna en Siria

 

Actualizado lunes 21/09/2009 17:34 horas
Arqueólogos alemanes han descubierto en las ruinas del palacio real de Qatna, en el centro de Siria, una cámara mortuoria llena de restos humanos y ofrendas, intacta y sin saquear tras más de 3.500 años cerrada.

Los científicos de la Universidad de Tubinga responsables del descubrimiento han señalado que además de un tesoro de valor incalculable, se han hallado en el interior de la cámara restos de unas 30 personas.

Añadieron que los cuerpos podrían pertenecer “a la familia real de Qatna o a miembros de su corte” y calificaron de espectacular el hallazgo por el hecho de que la cámara ha permanecido sellada tres milenios y medio sin ser violada por saqueadores.

Qatna fue un importante reino en el territorio de la actual Siria en la mediana y tardía edad de bronce.

Los arqueólogos del Instituto para la Cultura del Antiguo Oriente de la Universidad de Tubinga habían descubierto ya en el mismo lugar en 2002 una cámara mortuoria real.

La nueva cámara hallada este verano se encuentra en el ala noroeste del palacio de Qatna y se encontraba sellada por una puerta de piedra, tras la que apareció una gran sala de 4,90 por 6,30 metros.

Explicaron que los esqueletos encontrados no se hallaban depositados individualmente, sino ordenados por tipos de huesos en distintos grupos, algunos de ellos en cajas de madera, de las que han aparecido restos.

A juicio de los arqueólogos de Tubinga, los cuerpos de los fallecidos fueron depositados anteriormente en otro lugar, antes de que sus huesos fuesen concentrados en la cripta.

Junto a los restos humanos los expertos alemanes encontraron numerosas vasijas de cerámica, así como otras piezas de granito y alabastro, que parecen proceder de Egipto.

En una de las vasijas había valiosas joyas de oro, mientras en la cripta se encontraron restos de chapa de oro con la que se habían decorado presumiblemente muebles y tejidos.

Una de las piezas más sobresalientes descubiertas es la figura de un simio que sostiene en sus manos un recipiente de maquillaje. Los arqueólogos alemanes señalaron que actualmente tratan de averiguar quién fue enterrado en esa cámara, tarea que calificaron de complicada, ya que no se han encontrado inscripciones dentro de la misma.

 

Qatna (Arabic قطنا, modern Tell el-Mishrife, Arabic المشرفة) is an archaeological site in the Wadi il-Aswad, a tributary of the Orontes, 18 km northeast of Homs, Syria. It consist in a tell occupying 1 km², which makes it one of the largest Bronze Age towns in western Syria. The tell is located at the edge of the limestone-plateau of the Syrian desert towards the fertile Homs-Bassin(Wikipedia).

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[edit] History

The first finds at Qatna date to the mid- to late 3rd millennium BC, although this early period is not well represented.[1]

The find of a 12th Dynasty Egyptian sphinx belonging to Princess Ita, daughter of Amenemhat II (1875–1840 BC) shows early Egyptian influence, although it is not clear at what time the sphinx got to Qatna (the sphinx was found within the debris of the Late Bronze Age palace).

The first king of Qatna (Qatanum) known by name from the Mari archives is Ishi-Adad (Haddad or Adad is my help), an Amurru or “Amorite”. He was a confederate of Shamshi-Adad of upper Mesopotamia. He was succeeded by his son Amut-pî-el who had been governor of Nazala as crown prince. This was in the time of Hammurabi of Babylon (1792–1750 BC). Beltum, the sister of Amut-pî-el was married to Jasmah-Addu of Mari. Contracts between Mari and Qatna define her as the principal wife of Jasmah-Addu. Her mother might have been Lammassi-Ashur from Assur or Ekallatum. Zimrilim of Mari was married to another princess from Qatna, Dam-hurasim. After the destruction of Mari by Hammurapi, the written sources become sparse. Aleppo (Yamkhad) now became Qatna’s most powerful neighbour, during the reign of Jarim–Lim III. Qatna was temporarily dominated by Aleppo.

With the development of the Mitanni empire in upper Mesopotamia, Qatna was incorporated but was located in disputed territory between the Mitanni and Egypt. The inscriptions of the so-called Nin-Egal temple (part of the Royal palace, room C) show that Mittanni were resident in Qatna. The campaigns of Pharaohs Amenhotep I (1515–1494 BC) and Thutmose I (1494–1482 BC) in Syria might have reached Qatna, but there is no conclusive evidence. On the 7th Pylon of the temple of Amun in Karnak, Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC) mentions that he stayed in the land of Qatna in the 33rd year of his reign. Amenhotep II (1427–1401 BC) was attacked by the host of Qatna while crossing the Orontes, but of course he remained victorious and acquired booty, among which the equipment of a Mitanni charioteer is mentioned. Qatna is mentioned in Egyptian topographic lists till the time of Ramesses III (1180 BC). Cuneiform tablets discovered under the Royal palace in Qatna mention a previously unknown king Idanda who ruled ca. 1400 BC.

During the Syrian campaign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I (1380–1340 BC), Prince Akizzi of Qatna asked for the help of Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV, but as he was only concerned with his monotheistic reform symbolized by his own thone name Akhnaton and his new capital Amarna (abandoned after his death as all reforms were reversed), the town was among several Syrian city-states captured and plundered by the Hittites, the inhabitants deported to Hatti. During this same Amarna letters period, Prince Akizzi wrote 5 letters to Akhenaten.

Texts from Emar describe how Qatna was attacked by Aramaic tribes in the late Bronze Age, so the town must still have been in existence.

The tell was settled in Neo-Babylonian times as well (a hilani has been excavated), but the town remained insignificant as nearby Homs (Emesa) had taken over its position on the trade routes.

[edit] Historical geography and trade

In the 2nd Millennium BC trade routes developed connecting Mesopotamia with Cyprus, Crete and Egypt. Qatna was then situated near the end of the road connecting the middle Euphrates valley, for example Mari by way of Tadmor/Palmyra to the Mediterranean. Another route started from Aleppo, left the Euphrates at Emar and led via Halab, Qatna and Hazor to Egypt. The valley of Homs formed a connection to the Mediterranean near the port of Byblos and Tripoli, running between the Lebanon and the Ansari-mountains. Qatna is mentioned in the tin trade, which went from Mari via Qatna to the Mediterranean, Cypriote copper was transported in the other direction. The Mari texts mention cloth, clothing, a certain kind of bows, jewellery, woods, wine and two-wheeled chariots as trade goods reaching Mari via Qatna and partly going on to Babylon. Recent scientific investigation has determined that a carved hollow lion head vessel (circa 1340 BC) found at Qatna was made from amber imported from the Baltic region.[2] This type of amber has also been found in the Mycenae region from the same time period.

[edit] Modern excavations

[edit] History of the excavations

Tell-el-Mishrife was excavated between 1924–1927 and 1929 by Robert du Mesnil du Boisson while Syria was a French protectorate. He uncovered parts of the Bronze Age Royal palace, three gates and tombs on the slope between the upper and lower town (‘Falaise’). The Syrian Direction Générale des Antiquités excavated on the Colline centrale and the gates. In 1999 excavations have been resumed by the Direction Générale des Antiquités et des Musées in Damascus, the University of Udine and the University of Tübingen. The discovery of the Royal tombs and cuneiform tablets in 2002 have led to a state of cold war between the German and Italian excavation team.

[edit] Finds

The remains of the palace contained Cypriot imported ceramics dating from the middle Bronze Age. The new excavations have yielded locally made ceramics from the Old-Syrian (2000–1550 BC) and middle Syrian (1550–1200 BC) period.

In 2002, an acephalous basalt statue was found in an in a Late Bronze Age I rubbish pit (1600–1400 BC). It wears the typical ‘Syrian coat’ with thick borders that is normally taken as a sign of Royalty and might thus represent a yet nameless king of Qatna.

In a subterranean corridor under the ‘Cour de throne’, 63 cuneiform tablets have been discovered in 2002. They were covered by the burned remains of several roofbeams. Maybe they were hidden during the Hittite invasion. The texts probably belong to the archive of King Idanda and contain both intelligence reports on the (desperate) political situation in northern Syria, the Hittite threat and domestic and administrative texts. The texts are written in a mixture of the Akkadian and Hurrian languages hitherto unknown.

[edit] Visible remains

The remains of the town-wall are still preserved to a height of 20 m in parts. It consists of mudbricks and limestone rubble that probably were originally faced by a mudbrick wall. An artificial ditch ran in front of the wall. The wall encloses a square area, which is rather unusual for a Bronze Age town. There were four gates in the middle of each side. The gates were faced by orthostats of white limestone and black basalt, the foundations were partly cut into the rock. The entrance was about 4m wide and led to a gate-chamber 8 m deep.

The hill near the centre of the town may have been the acropolis. The Royal palace was located on the ‘Butte de l’eglise’ in the Northwest corner of the upper town. It is one of the biggest buildings of its kind known so far in Bronze Age Syria. Unfortunately, numerous mudbrick-walls were overlooked during the excavations in the 1920s and dug away. Only walls faced with stone slabs or delimited by the hard floor surface remained. The layout of the palace of Qatna is very similar to that of Mari. Numerous basalt pillar bases have been found. This use of pillars is comparable to the palace of Yarim-Lim in Alalakh VII. The big dimensions of some rooms (the ‘cour du throne’ measures 20 m across) may indicate that cedar beams were used for the roof. The Palace dates to the Old-Syrian period and was maybe the residence of King Ishi-Addu (see below).

On the “Small Acropolis” in the North of the central mound a second palace has been discovered in 2002 which may be the residence of a member of the Royal family. The area housed a small Christian town that was resettled in the 1980s. Nowadays, New Mishrife has about 2500 inhabitants (2000 est.).

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Akkermans and Schwartz 2003:245, Du Mesnil du Buisson 1935
  2. ^ Anna J Mukherjee et al., The Qatna lion: scientific confirmation of Baltic amber in late Bronze Age Syria, Antiquity, vol. 82, iss. 315, pp. 49, 2008

[edit] Sources

  • Akkermans, P. M. M. G. and G. M. Schwartz (eds.). 2003. The Archaeology of Syria: From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Early Urban Societies (c. 16,000–300 BC). Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • A. Abou Assaf, Mishrifeh. The Oxford encyclopedia of archaeology in the Near East 4 (Oxford 1997), 35–36.
  • H. Klengel, Qatna — ein historischer Überblick. MDOG 132, 2000, 239–252.
  • R. du Mesnil du Buisson, Le site archéologique de Mishrife-Qatna (Paris 1935).
  • M. Novák, The Chronology of the Bronze Age Palace of Qatna, Egypt & Levant 14, 2004, 299–317.
  • G. Elsen-Novák, Die altsyrische Glyptik aus Qatna – Eine erste Einordnung, MDOG 134, 2001, 257–274.
  • M. al-Maqdissi, M. Luciani, D. Morandi, M. Novák, P. Pfälzner, Excavating Qatna I – Preliminary Report on the 1999 and 2000 Campaigns of the Joint Syrian-Italian-German Archaeological Research Project at Mishrife (Damascus 2002).
  • M. Novák, Fundamentierungstechniken im Palast von Qatna, E. Czerny / I. Hein / H. Hunger / D. Melman / A. Schwab (ed.), Timelines. Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak III. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 149/3 (Leuven 2006), 63–71.
  • D. Morandi Bonacossi, M. Luciani, A. Barro, A. Canci, M. Cremaschi, M. Da Ros, J. Eidem, I. Finzi Contini, M. Iamoni, A. Intilia, L. Trombino, A. Sala, V. Valsecchi, Tell Mishrifeh / Qatna 1999–2002, A Preliminary Report of the Italian Component of the Joint Syrian-Italian-German Project, Part 1, Akkadica 124/1, 2003, 65–120.
  • M. Novák, P. Pfälzner, Ausgrabungen im bronzezeitlichen Palast von Tall Mishrife / Qatna 2002, Vorbericht der deutschen Komponente des internationalen Projektes, MDOG 135, 2003, 135–165.
  • A. Ahrens, S. Mankel, K. Sternitzke, Erstellung einer Harris-Matrix der Grabungsstelle G von Tall Mishrife-Qatna, at: http:www.uni-tuebingen.de/ufg/lehrveranstaltungen/caa_ws0001/qatna.html
  • A. Ahrens, Skarabäen und Skarabäenabdrücke aus Tall Mišrife/Qatna. Einige Beobachtungen zum interkulturellen Austausch zwischen der Levante und Ägypten. Ugarit-Forschungen 35 (2003), 1–27.

 

 

Filed under: ACTUALIDAD,Arqueologia,General,H. Próximo Oriente,HISTORIA ANTIGUA

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