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The End of Capital city of Hattusas

(Ca. 1200/1180 BC) With the decline of its great empire, the capital lost its influence and thereby also its role as a political, economic and religious center. Little by little its residents drifted away and certainly the last known Hittite king, the Great l(ing Shupiluliuma II, son of Tudhahiya IV, did not remain in Hattusha to the bitter end. He may well have moved his court elsewhere, thus sealing the fate of the city.
       Various complexes of the Empire period - the royal palace, certain temples, and stretches of the fortification walls among them - reveal signs of a fiery destruction. At least part of this devastation can only be attributed to the hands of an enemy. When the invaders entered the city, however, they must have found it nearly deserted, for the rooms destroyed by the fire had already been virtually cleared of their contents. Only what was worthless or stationary had been left behind. To the former category belong the records, the documents on file in the clay tablet archives; to the second, furnishings such as the huge storage vessels in the temple magazines.
       Until very recently we were dependent entirely on speculation as to who was responsible for the final desertion of the Hittite city. No trace whatever had been found of invaders who took over the site and settled here. It was assumed that the Kashkans, the restless northern neighbors of the Hittites, had dealt the dying city the fatal blow. Finally in 1996 the small settlement of a foreign population was discovered on the ridge of Buyukkaya. These people, who were by no means Hittites, settled down here after the desertion of ~the city. With them begins the Iron Age history of the site.


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