Material Culture of Anatolia in the 2nd Millennium B.C.

Material Culture of Anatolia in the 2nd Millennium B.C.

Organizer: Oya Topçuoğlu

The topic of this panel is defined broadly as the material culture of Anatolia in the 2nd millennium BC. This period, which covers the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, is characterized by important cultural transformations in Anatolia. A move toward larger urban sites is observed in the archaeological record, as a result of expanding commercial contacts across the region. Writing was introduced into the region by Assyrian merchants who established a trading network between the city of Ashur and central Anatolia. The extensive written records left behind by these merchants allow us to reconstruct the complex history of the Middle Bronze Age in great detail. New research shows that shortly after the breakdown of the Assyrian commercial network, the independent city-states in central Anatolia were unified by the early Hittite kings, leading to the development of one of the great powers of the ancient Near East, with extremely rich artistic, literary and cultural traditions, which continued to impact Anatolian culture long after the dissolution of the Hittite kingdom. Both the native material cultural of Anatolia and the foreign influences introduced into the region between 2000 and 1650 BC prevailed without a major break until the wide-spread collapse of Bronze Age cultures around 1200 BC.

This panel explores this rich and diverse material culture which characterized Anatolia from the arrival of Assyrian merchants at the beginning of the millennium until the dissolution of the Hittite kingdom. Papers will examine the material culture of Anatolia using innovative, interdisciplinary methods and approaches.


  • Dr. Yağmur Heffron (University College London): The kārum period in Anatolia: towards a historiography of archaeological interpretation    
  • Nancy Highcock (New York University): “From Your Sister’s Things…” Clothing Pins and Women’s Economic Agency across Early Second Millennium Anatolia and Assyria
  • Pınar Durgun (Brown University): The Retrospect of Death: Continuation and Change of Mortuary Traditions in Second Millennium Cemeteries
  • Dr. Müge Durusu-Tanrıöver (Bilkent University): Textual and Material Representations of the Hittite King