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The Hittite language of textiles

An EU team investigated ancient Hittite textile methods and related language. Work produced a database of all known Hittite words, with a resulting revision to previous understanding of textile terms as used in practice.
The Hittite language of textiles
The Hittite Empire flourished between roughly 1600 BCE and 1200 BCE, in an area including Cyprus, most of Turkey, plus parts of Lebanon and Syria. Hittite textile technology and terminology is of interest to modern scholars.

With EU funding, the TEXTHA (Textile terminology of Hittite Anatolia) project re-analysed the terminology, and compiled a complete collection all Hittite text sources on the topic.

The team processed and classified thousands of documents. The result was a complete list of all known Hittite words, double checked against the Hittite dictionary database held at the University of Chicago. The new lexicon was the most comprehensive to date.

Researchers also received training in ancient textile techniques. Based on such training, the team used the lexical resource to revise meanings of Hittite textile-related words in the original context. The team hence created an index of such Hittite words and intended concepts, derived from pictographs. The list included vocabulary related to materials, fabrics, tools, clothing for different parts of the body, garments for people of different status levels and symbolic value.

Project personnel received training in research management. Outreach included one public lecture and one undergraduate semester course offered via the University of Copenhagen. Academic output included one book, due for publication during 2016.

The TEXTHA project yielded a significant resource for other scholars. Results benefit future studies of both ancient textiles and the Hittite language.

Related information


Hittite, textiles, terminology, TEXTHA, lexicon
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