The details of an ancient 3,200-year-old stone slab containing stories of a Trojan prince and a race of people known as the Sea People are finally beginning to emerge after archaeologists just announced that the stone inscription had been deciphered. This was no easy task to achieve as the stone inscription was written in Luwian, an ancient language which only a handful of scholars today are able to read.
In fact, so rare is the knowledge of this language that it is believed that there may only be 20 people who are able to understand it. One of these scholars just happens to be Fred Woudhuizen, who we can thank today for providing the translation of this stone slab. Scholars have said that if this 3,200-year-old stone inscription is indeed authentic, it highlights a specific period of time with the Sea People, who waged fierce wars throughout the Middle East, destroying numerous cities and sometimes even whole civilizations in their path.
The stone slab describes the story of how Prince Kupantakuruntas, son of King Mashuittas, ascended to the throne of Mira. After King Walmus was overthrown, King Mashuittas took over Troy, yet allowed Walmus to regain his Trojan throne because of his extraordinary loyalty to the kingdom of Mira, according to Live Science.
When the Trojan prince Kupantakuruntas became king, he ruled over the kingdom of Mira, who also controlled Troy. While not technically the king of Troy, Kupantakuruntas nevertheless considered himself to be its guardian and protector. On the 3,200-year-old stone slab it was written that he fervently pleaded with the future rulers of Troy to “guard Wilusa like the great king of Mira did,” with Wilusa being an older name for Troy.
The inscription also points toward the Trojan prince Muksus commanding a fierce naval expedition which managed to subdue and finally conquer Ashkelon by constructing a fortress along the Mediterranean coast in what is now Israel.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) October 7, 2017
The new translation of the 3,200-year-old stone inscription has been made from a copy of the original, with the copy having been found at archaeologist James Mellaart’s estate after he died in 2012. Mellaart is known for discovering many archaeological sites, with the most well known of these being the 9,500-year-old Çatalhöyük in Turkey, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
James Mellaart left very specific instructions for the mysterious stone engraving, explaining that while he was unable to have it translated, it was his greatest wish that other scholars would be able to decipher it. While there have been suggestions by a few scholars that it is possible that the copy of the stone inscription could possibly be a forgery, Mellaart has previously spoken of it in the 1992 publication Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society.
A copy of the original inscription of the stone was made in a village in Turkey by Georges Perrot in 1878, according to notes left behind by James Mellaart. Another scholar named Bahadır Alkım used Perrot’s copy of the stone slab to make his own, and Mellaart used this copy to create his own in an effort to try and have it translated.
James Mellaart and his research team began attempting to translate the 3,200-year-old stone slab in 1956, but he was unable to publish the work that they had completed as the majority of the scholars on his team died in the 1980s. Despite Mellaart’s attempt to read the inscription, having no knowledge of the Luwian language prevented him from doing so.
In response to questions of forgery, scholars Zangger and Woudhuizen have said that it would be extremely unlikely that the copy of the stone inscription cold be fraudulent as the inscription was extremely lengthy and Mellaart had no knowledge of the language. Furthermore, up until the 1950s the Luwian language was not able to be translated by anybody else either.
The latest findings of the 3,200-year-old stone inscription detailing the Trojan prince and the Sea People will be published in December’s edition of the Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society.
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