Luwian-Studies

Artistic reconstruction of Late Bronze Age Troy (VIIa) as described by Guido de Columnis, Historia Destructionis Troiae (5.100-245) in 1287 (© Christoph Haußner)

LATEST NEWS

  • Colloquium on Luwian Studies to be held in Zurich

    Luwian language and script will be the primary subjects of the first colloquium of the foundation Luwian Studies, which will be held on 3 November  Read more ...

  • Luwian Studies receives global media attention

    The launch of the Luwian Studies’s website in English and German received much media attention around the globe: New Scientist, NZZ, Die Zeit, Popular Archaeology,  Read more ...

  • Book “The Luwian Civilization” has appeared

    The foundation Luwian Studies today announced the go-live of its website in English and German as well as the publication of a book entitled “The  Read more ...

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A new perspective on Aegean prehistory

This website invites you to a journey into the past, when the so-called Sea Peoples raided the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean and Greek heroes set off to conquer legendary Troy. The majority of civilizations around the Eastern Mediterranean disappeared within a few years shortly after 1200 BCE. Here you will find for the first time a coherent reconstruction of what might have happened. Instead of natural disasters and unknown invaders, the thus far little-known Luwian people will now assume the pivotal role in triggering this demise. Once their significance is acknowledged, answers to a number of hitherto puzzling questions in Mediterranean Archaeology are likely to fall into place.

During the second millennium BCE people speaking a Luwian language lived throughout Asia Minor. They were contemporaries, trading partners, and at times opponents of the well-known Minoan, Mycenaean, and Hittite cultures of Greece and Asia Minor.

However, the Luwians in Asia Minor possessed the knowledge of writing at least five centuries before it became customary at Mycenaean courts. And when the art of writing was lost in Greece at the end of the Bronze Age, it still persisted amongst Luwians for as long as half a millennium. In the 19th century European scholars discovered these Luwian inscriptions long before the first Mycenaean, Minoan, and Hittite documents.

The territory inhabited by Luwian-speaking populations was about three times as large as the core area of the Mycenaean civilization and five times as large as that of the Hittite. We know already today as many Luwian settlement sites as Mycenaean, Minoan, and Hittite combined. The world’s first large-scale excavation of a prehistoric archaeological site was Troy, a citadel in Luwian territory. And still today this is the most important stratified archaeological site in the world.


Yet the Luwians have remained completely unknown archaeologically. They do not appear on any political map of the Aegean Bronze Age, and there are still virtually no prehistorians who would say publicly that the Luwians ever wielded economic and political power.


What are the main new ideas and suggestions put forward by Luwian Studies?

  • Archaeological research has thus far overlooked an entire civilization in western Turkey.
  • 340 settlements of this Luwian civilization which were inhabited during most of the 2nd millennium BCE have been systematically recorded for the first time. [more]
  • For the first time, the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean can be plausibly explained – as a sequence of three different wars. [more]
  • The city of Troy has not been found yet. Its remains are buried 5-6 meter deep in the alluvial plain of the Scamander River below the citadel of Ilion, whose excavated ruins attract countless tourists. [more]
  • The Troy myth that existed from antiquity to the time of Shakespeare rests on genuine memories of the Bronze Age city, fragments of which have been preserved and transmitted in ancient and medieval texts up until today. [more]
  • Past events much like those in the present are primarily determined by politics, the economy and technological advances. If we want to better understand past cultures, these issues need to be examined more closely. [more]
  • Archaeology was conceived at a time when Europe fought the Ottoman Empire. Until the 20th century paradigms were formulated to amplify European civilizations while belittling those on Turkish soil. [more]

Interactive Map of the Luwian Civilization (c. 1800–1200 BCE)

“Luwian” is used to designate people and places of the 2nd mill. BCE in western Asia Minor that clearly belonged neither to the Mycenaean realm in southern Greece nor to the Hittite kingdom in central Asia Minor. This definition leaves virtually all of western Anatolia to be occupied by what we consider Luwians.

Map showing the topography of western Anatolia
Map showing the relief of western Anatolia
Map showing the distribution of alluvial soil in western Anatolia
Map showing the rivers and lakes of western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age
Map showing known routs in western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age
Map showing the distribution of settlements in western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age
Map showing the distribution of minerals in western Anatolia in the Late Bronze Age
1_Garstang 1959
4_Macqueen 1968
3_Mellaart 1993
6_Starke 2002
5_Woudhuizen 2015
2_Alparslan 2015
Relief
Alluvial plains
Rivers and lakes
Trade routes
Settlement sites
Mineral resources
Garstang 1959
Macqueen 1968
Mellaart 1993
Starke 2002
Woudhuizen 2015
Alparslan 2015

Over the past few years, researchers at Luwian Studies have recorded substantial archaeological settlement sites in this region as they already appear dispersed in the scientific literature. This worked has been backed up by satellite image analysis, field check and extensive use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

The main characteristics of the physical environment of western Asia Minor are highlighted in this map and can be activated individually. The names of the Late Bronze Age petty states in western Asia Minor are well known from Hittite documents. However, experts do not agree on their geographic positions. Different models can be selected below.

Please activate check boxes: