VAN, Turkey

A Turkish university has made a significant contribution to understanding and analyzing the ancient Urartu civilization through Urartian lessons.

The language of Urartu, which can only be spoken by a minority of people worldwide, has been handed down to the next generations thanks to lessons in undergraduate and graduate classes at eastern Turkey-based Van Yuzuncu Yil University.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Rafet Cavusoglu, an archeology professor at Van Yuzuncu Yil University, said 30 undergraduate students have taken the language lessons. However, he added that Urartian is taught more extensively at the graduate level.

“Five graduate students have reached the stage of both reading and writing Urartu. Urartian inscriptions shed light on an era,” he said.

Stressing the importance of the lessons, Cavusoglu noted that Urartian must be taught and translated into contemporary Turkish in light of current new information to enlighten the historical period.

“Urartian is known as an extinct language. We aim to bring new names to the world of science, especially by giving courses at the graduate level in Uratian,” he added.

Language a must for archaeological excavations

Pointing out the crucial role of the lessons in archeology, Orhan Varol, a linguistic scientist at the university, mentioned the need for learning Urartian for successful excavations.

“Despite the research conducted so far, there are still inexplicable words in the Urartu language. Understanding those unknown words will be possible through these lessons,” Varol said.

“It contains an ideogram starting from the Sumerians. That is a group of adverbs and syllables containing concept writing marks. Consonants can never be seen alone. Only vowels, which are only four, can be alone,” he noted on some features of the language.

Tusba, also known as Thusba — a district of Van province today — was the capital of the Urartian kingdom in the 9th century BC.

*Writinb by Burak Bir

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