Student Reader


Hattusha is in northern Central Anatolia at Cappadocia's north edge. Today it is within a dry climatic zone that delivers short summers and long cold winters. Earlier however the region was more moist and temperate, with nearby forests, dense vegetation and a variety of wild game.

Hattusha remained the Hittites' political and religious center until the state collapsed. However, it was far north of the Hittite territory center, which extended south into Syria. Its northern location made it vulnerable to attacks from groups from the Black Sea shores, especially the Gasga who at times completely sacked it. Some later rulers temporarily established capitals in the south but Hattusha remained the political and religious center of the Hittite state until the state collapsed.

PaleolithicVery few traces of civilization in any of northern Anatolia
MesolithicVery few traces of civilization in any of northern Anatolia.
NeolithicVery few traces of civilization in any of northern Anatolia's mountainous and forested geography. However there are traces in the south, for example in Catal Huyuk and the Konya Plain.
Chalcolithic6000-3000 BCFirst settlements include one on the Büyükakaya ridge and near Yarikkaya. Settlement across northern Anatolia increased very slowly.
Early Bronze Age3000-2000 BCCoherent zones of habitation with trade were established. Toward the end of the Early Bronze Age a Hattian settlement was established at Bogazkale, beginning the site's continuous occupation. Remnants of Hattian settlements have been found under the fill of the Hittite Lower City, and on the high ridges of Büyükkaya and Büyükkale.
Middle Bronze Age
aka Karum Period
2000-1700 BCFortifications were laid out on Büyükkale, indicating this is where the Hattian rulers lived. Hattian settlement stretched from the slope of Büyükkale to the area where the Great Temple of the Hittites was later erected. Hattian occupation grew to the point that an Assyrian karum was established sometime in the 19th/18th centuries BC just to the north. This was one of several at Hattian centers. The Assyrian traders kept their residential quarters separate from the Hattians, although the Assyrians were nonetheless protected and taxed by the Hattian rulers. With the Assyrians arrived writing (Akkadian cuneiform) as business necessitated documentation. Transactions were recorded on tablets, along with the name of the Hattian city Hattush.
Hattusha Destroyed~1700 BCAt the start of the 2nd mill BC, Central Anatolia saw frequent conflict between the autochthonous Hattians and immigrant Hittites seeking to consolidate their power. A ~1700 BC burn layer at Hattush is corroborated by an inscription by King Anitta of Kushar, describing his defeat of King Piyushti of Hattush: "At night I took the city by force; I have sown weeds in its place. Should any king after me attempt to resettle Hattush may the Weathergod of Heaven strike him down" 2.
Old Hittite Kingdom~1650-1400 BCHeralding from Kushar, in ~1650 BC the Hittite king Hattushili I chose to preside from Hattian Hattush, marking the beginning of the Hittite Hattusha 1. Hattushili reintroduced cuneiform writing, which had fallen out of use when the Assyrian trade network disintegrated, thus ensuring a legacy of 30,000 clay tablets spanning laws, contracts, correspondences, cult procedures, oracular prophecies and ancient Near East literature.
Hattusha Destroyed1400 BCUnder the reign of Hittite king Tudhaliya III the city "was burned to the ground" according to a cuneiform text 3. This is contemporaneous with a recension of Hittite power, the extent of Hittite hegemony contracting to just the Central Anatolian plateau 1.
Hittite Empire1400-1180 BCHittite king Shupiluliuma I led the Hittites to defeat the Mitanni, their mighty opponent straddling north Mesopotamia and south Anatolia.
Shupiluliuma I
Kesikkaya Excavated1911