Discovery of a 2,500-Year-Old Saw in Ancient Hittite Capital

In an exciting archaeological development, a team in Çorum, once the heart of the Ancient Hittite Empire, has unearthed a saw believed to be 2,250 years old. This remarkable find was made during ongoing excavations led by Professor Andreas Schachner from the German Archaeological Institute in the ancient city of Hattusha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

Hattusha, renowned as the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire, a dominant force in the Near East during the late Bronze Age (circa 1600-1180 BCE), has been a treasure trove of historical artifacts. Archaeological efforts in this area, particularly in the Boğazkale district, have been ongoing since 1906, revealing a myriad of ancient items, including a tablet inscribed with a mysterious language.

The city of Hattusha, now an open-air museum, is distinguished by its sophisticated urban planning, preservation of various structures like temples, royal palaces, fortifications, and famed features such as the Lions’ Gate, Royal Gate, and the Yazilikaya rock sanctuary.

The recently discovered saw, about 20 centimeters in length, was found on the northwestern slope of the large castle area in Hattusha. Professor Schachner noted the saw’s iron is thicker than that of modern saws, yet it bears a striking resemblance to contemporary tools, underscoring the continuity in tool-making over millennia.

This discovery is unique, marking the first of its kind from the 3rd century BC in this region. “Finding a saw from this period is very interesting. There are not many examples from this era. We have identified some from the later Roman periods, but a saw from the 3rd century BC is unprecedented,” said Professor Schachner.

Further insights into the saw’s design were gleaned from the holes on either side of the blade, suggesting it likely had a semicircular handle. This design implies that carpenters of the era would have used it by gripping the wooden handle and moving the saw accordingly.

Adding to its historical significance, Hattusha has been recognized by UNESCO as a “Memory of the World” since 2001. The site is celebrated for its cuneiform scripts, which represent the oldest known form of Indo-European languages. This recent discovery of the ancient saw further enriches our understanding of the technological and cultural advancements of the Hittite civilization.


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