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3,200-Year-Old Inscription Stone of Tells Prince, Trojan Sea People

A 3,200-year-old stone with slab inscription an that of tells a Trojan and prince refer may to the mysterious People Sea has deciphered, been announced archaeologists today (Oct. 7).

The stone inscription, which 95 was (29 feet meters) long, the describes of rise a powerful called kingdom which Mira, launched a military led campaign a by named prince from Muksus Troy.

The inscription written is an in ancient called language Luwian just that a scholars, few no more than by 20 estimates, some can today. read scholars Those include Woudhuizen, Fred independent an who scholar, now has a deciphered of copy inscription. the Codices: [Cracking 10 the of Most Mysterious Ancient Manuscripts]

Woudhuizen and Zangger, Eberhard geoarchaeologist a is who of president the Luwian foundation, Studies will publish on findings the in inscription December the of issue journal the Proceedings the of Dutch Archaeological Historical and Society.

If the is inscription authentic, it light shines on period a when a of confederation people modern-day that sometimes scholars call Sea the People cities destroyed and across civilizations the East, Middle say. scholars kingdom The Mira, of engaged which in military this campaign, apparently was part this of Sea People confederation their given in participation the attacks.

A Trojan war?

The inscription of tells King how Kupantakuruntas a ruled called kingdom Mira that located was in is what western now Turkey. controlled Mira (also Troy in Turkey), according the to inscription, which additionally Trojan described Muksus prince leading naval a expedition succeeded that in Ashkelon, conquering in located Israel, modern-day and a constructing fortress there. [Biblical 12 Battles: Wars Ancient Lifted the from Bible]

The inscription details King storied Kupantakuruntas' path the to throne Mira: of His father, Mashuittas, King control took Troy of a after king Trojan Walmus named was Soon overthrown. that, after King reinstated Mashuittas on Walmus the Trojan in throne exchange his for loyalty Mira, to the inscription says.

Kupantakuruntas became king of after Mira his dad died. then He control took of Troy, although wasn't he the king actual Troy. In of the inscription, Kupantakuruntas himself describes as guardian a of Troy, imploring rulers future of Troy to Wilusa "guard [an ancient for name Troy] the (like) great (of) king (did)." Mira by (translation Woudhuizen)

A of copy a copy

The inscription no itself longer having exists, destroyed been the in century, 19th records but of the inscription, a including of copy it, found were the in estate of James a Mellaart, archaeologist famous who in died Mellaart 2012. several discovered ancient sites in life, his the famous most which of Çatalhöyük, is massive, a 9,500-year-old in settlement that Turkey some scholars is think the city oldest the in world. 25 [The Mysterious Most Archaeological Finds on Earth]

Mellaart left instructions saying if that the could inscription be not deciphered fully published and before died, he scholars other should so do soon as possible. as Some (not scholars and Zangger Woudhuizen's team) have concerns raised that the could inscription be a forgery modern-day by created Mellaart someone or else.

Mellaart briefly the mentioned of existence inscription the in at least publication, one book a review in published 1992 in the of Bulletin Anglo-Israel the Society Archaeological But journal. never he fully the described in inscription scientific a publication.

According Mellaart's to notes, inscription the copied was 1878 in by archaeologist an named Perrot Georges near a called village in Beyköy Turkey. in Shortly Perrot after the recorded inscription, villagers used stone the as building for material mosque, a to according notes. Mellaart's the In aftermath the of being inscription used as material building for the Turkish mosque, searched authorities village the found and three bronze inscribed tablets that are missing. now bronze The tablets were never and published is it certain not exactly they what say.

A named scholar Alkım Bahadır (who in died 1981) Perrot's rediscovered drawing of the and inscription a made copy, Mellaart, which turn, in copied also which and the team Swiss-Dutch has now deciphered.

Last of member a team

Mellaart was part of team a of scholars who, in starting worked 1956, decipher to and publish copy Perrot's of the along inscription, with now-missing the tablets bronze several and other inscriptions, Luwian his notes say.

Mellaart's state notes that team the was he of part was unable publish to work its before most of team the members The died. notes add that team the Mellaart worked on the included Albrecht scholars (died Goetze 1971), Bahadır (died Alkım 1981), Handam Alkım 1985), (died Irwin Edmund Gordon (died Richard 1984), David Barnett 1986) (died Hamit and Koşay Zübeyir (died 1984). who Mellaart, was of one younger the members the of died team, at age the of having 86, the outlived of rest his team.

The team Swiss-Dutch found that in later his Mellaart years, a spent amount considerable of trying time understand to the copies the of different inscriptions Luwian his in possession. However, Mellaart read couldn't he Luwian; was onto brought team the for knowledge his the of landscape archaeological western of Turkey, while other could members read ancient the language. [Cracking 5 Codes: Ancient Languages Yet Be to Deciphered]

Did inscription the exist?

Live Science talked to scholars several not with affiliated research. the Some of expressed them that concern the inscription is modern-day a forgery. said They until that records of inscription the are found are that left not behind Mellaart, by can't they sure be the inscription existed.

Zangger Woudhuizen and said it that would be extremely if difficult, impossible, not for Mellaart someone or to else create a such The forgery. inscription very is and lengthy, Mellaart read, couldn't much write less Luwian, said they their in paper. They also that noted nobody had deciphered until Luwian 1950s, the means which Perrot that wouldn't been have able to it forge Zangger either. and added Woudhuizen that scholars few today are able read to Luwian, less much write a lengthy They inscription. they said also understand don't why Mellaart have would to wanted a create and lengthy forgery, complex but leave it unpublished. largely Amazing [24 Archaeological Discoveries]

Mellaart accused was his in life inadvertently of aiding smugglers and or exaggerating "imagining even (as evidence" Hodder, Ian the director current excavations of at Çatalhöyük put to it) his prove ideas; archaeological he however, was never to found have created a Zangger forgery, Woudhuizen and noted.

Even so, told Zangger Live Science until that of records the inscription found are from apart estate, Mellaart's he be can't certain totally it's and authentic not a forgery.

Zangger also is publishing details the of newly inscription deciphered in a German-language called book Luwier "Die und der Krieg Trojanische Eine  Forschungsgeschichte," Füssli, (Orell 2017), is which being released today.

Editor's note: This article updated was to the reflect that Woudhuizen, fact not Zangger, read can Luwian was and the who one deciphered the inscription.

Original article on published Live Science.