Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


TEXTHA Report Summary

Project reference: 331037
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE

Final Report Summary - TEXTHA (Textile Terminology of Hittite Anatolia)

The primary objective of the research project was to provide an accurate and updated analysis of the Hittite textile terminology. It was achieved through a precise examination of all the preserved epigraphic sources; the second objective is to create a complete corpus of all epigraphic sources concerning ‘Hittite textiles’, the first of its kind.
The first year of fellowship (September 2013 – December 2014) was focused on the creation of the complete corpus of all epigraphic sources.
During short work-stays at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz (Germany) (references Prof. Dr. Gernot Wilhelm, Dr. Silvin Košak and Dr. Francesco Fuscagni) between November 2013 and May 2015, several thousands of documents (both full tablets and fragments) were processed and classified.
As a results, the fellow has compiled a semasiological index comprising all attestations of Hittite textile words documented so far; hence, also including the meagre attestations of the last edited clay tablet fragments (refer to CHDS2 by Oğuz Soysal in print). All the entries which were collected in Mainz were thereafter double-checked with the Chicago Hittite dictionary database of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The material sifted through in Chicago, predominantly inedited, was crucial to check if the attestations collected in Mainz were correct and comprehensive. This drafted Hittite lexicon is the most comprehensive database of the Hittite textile words so far. It could be used as an open source for multiple Hittitological studies.
In order to achieve the main objective (i.e. the creation of the first Hittite Textile Lexicon), two goals were reached:
1. The creation of a complete onomasiological index of the Hittite textiles on the basis of the critical analysis of the supposed meaning of the textile-related words in Hittite contexts. The onomasiological index consists of a list of words in Hittite language according to materials (wool, linen, etc.); untailored fabrics (yarns, strips, rolls, etc.); tools (spindles, distaffs, looms, loom-weights, etc.); clothes for different parts of body (hats, headbands, gloves, shoes, underclothes, shirts, tunics, mantles, etc.); garments according to a socio-stratigraphic selection (used by men, women, slaves, court officers, soldiers, kings and queens, priests, etc.); textiles in literary contexts with symbolic value (textile metaphors or expressions);
2. The creation of a semasiological index of more than 300 words including the textile words hidden behind (often) strange Hittite renderings of Akkadograms and Sumerograms related to textiles. The logograms were subsequently analyzed thanks to a fellowship offered within the collaboration between CNRS and DNRF to spend a research time in Paris (Collège de France) and Nanterre (La Maison Archéologie & Ethnologie, René-Ginouvès) under the supervision of Dr. Cécile Michel and Prof. Francis Joannes between February and May 2014. This was promoted by supervisor, Prof. Nosch.
The creation of a corpus of Hittite texts in which textiles are listed or quoted represent a significant resource for Hittitology and it could be used in the next future for interdisciplinary collaborations with the main Hittite dictionary projects around the world, namely the Hethitisches Wörterbuch (HW2) of the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität of Munich and The Chicago Hittite Dictionary (CHD) of the University of Chicago. It lays the foundation for a research platform from which scholars can gain information to elaborate new word entries for the Hittite dictionaries. In addition, the study of the etymology of words related to textiles offers a relevant material for the Hittite Etymological Dictionary (HED) and the Hethitisches Etymologisches Glossar (HEG).
The concrete results of this research is planned to be published in form of a book by the end of 2016 within the Hittitological book series Texte der Hethiter (Band 30) of the Winter Universitätsverlag Heidelberg.

2. Objectives
The objectives set by the time of the submission of the MC grant were:
1. Updating and consolidation of the corpus
The work-stays at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz (Germany) and at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (USA) gave to the researcher the opportunity to collect attestations of textile words mentioned in thousands of fragmentary tablets belonging to different text genres. The fellow created a database of the Hittite textile words by carefully checking the two most comprehensive databases of Hittite sources worldwide.
2. Creation of a comprehensive “Hittite Textile Words List”
It was important to analyze every single word attested in the mentioned documents and their subsequent copies that belong to the three chronological stages of the Hittite language (Old, Middle and New Hittite) and to different Anatolian cultural environments (Hittite, Hattian, Hurrian, Luwian). The analysis of each word-entry was conducted as follows:
Brief description of the Lemma
Diachronic Lexical Development
List of attestations
Word in context (listing all the crucial passages in which the word is attested)

3. Textiles Classification
In order to identify terms within a technology, which is completely foreign to us today, the fellow followed training in textile techniques. This enabled him to combine his linguistic analysis of textile terminology with the textile knowledge already gathered by the CTR staff through the experimental archaeology and the solid know-how of crafts, which philologists normally do not possess. In order to acquire insights into textile techniques the fellow participated in the 3rd Textile Production Workshop held in Lejre, Denmark from the 26th to the 29th of August 2014, benefiting from the expertise of textile archaeologists Dr. Eva Andersson Strand and Ida Demant who are experts of Bronze and Iron Age textile production. They trained him in the main stages of textile production, namely: fibre preparation and spinning; dyeing with plants and how to weave on the so-called “warp-weighted loom” (which was in use in second millennium BCE Anatolia). This gave him the possibility to link textile techniques with the data provided through the analysis of texts. This training was essential in comparing textile experimental analysis with the information gained from the study of many unclear Hittite or Luwian technical terms related to textiles.

3. Work progress and achievements
Training in research management: as part of additional training activities planned by the time of submission of the application, the fellow was invited to join the management board of the CTR by his supervisor Prof. Marie Louise Nosch in the period October 2013 to August 2014, and was assigned the task of preparing the CTR staff’s lecture tour in the United States. He did not join the US tour.
Transfer of knowledge: the fellow presented part of his research project to a wider public on the occasion of the one-day CTR teaching programme of the Open University (Folkuniversitet) held at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen on March 1st, 2014. The fellow gave a lecture in English entitled “Performing rituals in ancient Hittite Anatolia: The symbolic use of textiles and textile tools.”
In order to accomplish the objectives fixed in this research project, related to the major points of the additional training activities it was arranged for the fellow to teach a semester course in “Elementary Grammar of the Hittite Language”. The course was offered to B.A. students at the University of Copenhagen (The Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics). This full spring semester course (15 ETCS points) started in February and ended in June 2014 with the submission of a final examination. All students passed the exam.
The collaboration between the fellow and the experts of the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research represents a significant impact from the scientific point of view because philologists rarely possess a good knowledge of textile terms in modern languages, or master textile techniques. The fellow’s presence at the CTR and his encounter with many different textile experts enabled him to better define (or refine) the exact meaning of many Hittite textile terms or textile manufacturing processes. This was presented in his collaborative paper (with two colleagues: Baccelli and Bellucci), edited and published by the supervisor M.-L. Nosch et alii in the Ancient Textiles Series in 2014. In this paper entitled Elements for a Comparative Study on Textile Production and Use in Hittite Anatolia and Its Neighbours, the fellow presents alternative translations of specific textile terms, taking advantage of the expertise of supervisor Prof. Marie Louise Bech Nosch and textile archaeologist associated CTR Ida Demant. It must be underlined that, by the time the first issues of the Hittite dictionaries were published, there was not any precise knowledge of ancient textile technology, at least among Hittitologists. As a consequence, terms related to fabrics and clothes were basically interpreted using modern categories.
The investigation on the Sumerograms and Akkadograms related to textiles and quoted in the Hittite documentation sheds new light on the processes of alphabetization of the Hittite chancery and on the scribal tradition. The fellow has moreover demonstrated that many logograms used by the Hittite trained scribes do not always convey the same semantic connotations they had in the preceding or even contemporary Mesopotamian documents.

Related information

Documents and Publications


Kristoffersen, Ivan (Head of Department)
Tel.: +45 28752810
Record Number: 182410 / Last updated on: 2016-05-13
Information source: SESAM