Interdisciplinary Conference: 1st Kültepe International Meeting

By Fikri Kulakoğlu and Cécile Michel.

Kültepe, the ancient city of Kaneš, is regularly excavated since 1948. Until 2005, excavations were directed by Tahsin Özgüç; he was assisted by Kutlu Emre, who worked at Kültepe for 59 years (2005-2013). Since 2006, excavations go on under the direction of Fikri Kulakoğlu. Kültepe has always been a very prolific site. It provided many artefacts and data for a wide range of disciplines. Moreover, almost every year the archaeologists find new Old Assyrian tablets. The total number of texts discovered at Kültepe, about 22 500, for the great majority in the lower town, places this site among the richest supplier of cuneiform texts from the whole Near East.

During the Chicago ASOR annual meeting in 2012, a small workshop gathering Kültepe specialists took place; it allowed discussions between colleagues working on the Kültepe material from various points of views (Atıcı et al., JCS suppl. 4, 2014). Fascinating discussions went on during the evenings, showing a strong desire to create the best conditions for further regular scientific exchanges. This motivated the organization of a first “Kültepe International Meeting” (KIM), September 19-23, 2013. We wished to create a synergy, to build up collective projects, and thus to have regular meetings taking place at Kültepe. The aim of these conferences is to bring together all the researchers working on Kültepe and its surrounding area, from a wide range of disciplines, in order to set up interdisciplinary collaborations on any question related to Kültepe researches. To make this dialogue possible, a general theme on material culture was addressed, and participants were also invited to present reports on their work in progress.

Every evening, general thematic discussions took place involving all participants. A final discussion was dedicated to plans for follow-up research and meeting activities. It has been collectively decided that a Kültepe International Meeting will take place at Kültepe every two years at the end of July, centered on Kültepe and its surrounding area. The international organizing team will change every time and will be constituted by two or three archaeologists and philologists, including the director of the excavations.

M.T. Larsen tells us everything about the fight between the two sons of Šalim-Aššur in front of his house excavated in 1994.
M.T. Larsen tells us everything about the fight between the two sons of Šalim-Aššur in front of his house excavated in 1994.

The first Kültepe International gathered on the site about sixty participants from three continents and a dozen of countries. Thirty papers dealing with a wide range of topics were presented during the three days of the meeting. The fourth day, participants enjoyed a tour to Cappadocia offered by the Municipatiy of Kayseri. Experiments were made during the conference, as for example, baking replicas of Kültepe ceramics in an open oven. Two visits to the mound and to the lower town were commented by various participants.

Participants to the 1st KIM, September 2013.
Participants to the 1st KIM, September 2013.

The proceedings of the conference will be published in the series SUBARTU (Brepols), as the first volume of a new sub-series: Kültepe International Meetings (KIM 1). The contributions will be arranged in different sections concerning the archaeology, chronology and population of Kültepe, the relationships between Kültepe and Central Anatolia, the study of archives belonging to Assyrian merchants, the question of literacy, the Anatolian settlements and daily life, metals and minerals, and Kültepe after Kaneš. This volume KIM 1 should be out in July 2015.

Fikri Kulakoğlu & Cécile Michel

August 2014