Mineralogical Study of the Amarna Tablets

Generally, this post will do nothing more than point out the great importance of the work done by Goren, Finkelstein, and Na’aman in their using the type of clay of several Amarna tablets to determine the locations from which they were sent, and show the absolute locations of these locations.

One of the most valuable finds of this work is the discovery of the true location of the Amarna-era capital of the Alashiyan kingdom- either Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios (34°45’3″N, 33°18’10″E) or, more likely, (Kh)Alassa-Paliotaverna (34°45’30″N, 32°55’18″E). Almost equally valuable was the chronicling of the expansion of the Kingdom of Amurru, from a chiefdom on both banks of the Kebir (Syro-Lebanese border) and the mountains east of Tripoli/Ullasa, to a kingdom with its capital at Tell Arde/Ardata, 34°24’30″N, 35°54’53″E, to a monarchy centered at Irqata, encompassing Tell Kazel/Zemar (34°42’31″N, 35°59’10″E) and Tell Asharneh/Tunip (35°17’13″N, 36°23’52″E). If the Egyptians had established stronger bases north of Kumidi (33°37’26″N, 35°49’17″E), their primary Syrian administration center, and founded a major fort at Kadesh/Tell Nebi Mend, 34°33’26″N, 36°31’10″E, the Kingdom of Amurru might have never became what it had.

The capital of king Ba’lu-mehir (EA 257-259), [x-x-i]G-ma-te, has finally been shown to be Jokneam (32°39’52″N, 35° 6’32″E). Ba’lu-UR.SAG’s city has been shown to be Rehov (near Behshean), eliminating Jatt as a candidate for Ginti-Padalla (a disputed city between Labayu of Shechem and Ba’lu-UR.SAG). Ginti-kirmil has been determined to be not at Gath or at Carmel, but at Jatt, revealing what Abdi-Heba was contrasting with “the land of Seir”.

Work such as this should be encouraged and continued. Who knows what other facts might be discovered in the future by petrographical analysis?

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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