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Andrew Lawler

2008 “Who Were the Hurrians?,”
Archaeology (2008), pp. 46-50.
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     Lawler presents a brief overview about the excavations at Urkesh, described as a town inhabited by the Hurrians, “a little-known people fueled the rise of civilization ”.
     The article briefly presents the vast plaza and the impressive stone stairway related to the temple complex, revealing that “the Hurrians were far more than just another wandering tribe in the fractious Middle East”.
     A short section is also about the origins of the Hurrians who “ arrived much later from the Caucasus or some other distant region to the northeast, drawn to the fringes of civilization after the rise of the great southern Sumerian centers of Ur, Uruk, and Nippur. Scholars long assumed that the Hurrians arrived in the middle of the third millennium B.C., and eventually settled down and adopted cuneiform as a script and built their own cities. That theory is based on linguistic associations with Caucasus' languages and the fact that Hurrian names are absent from the historical record until Akkadian times”.
     On the other hand, the author also reports P. Michaelowski's theory about an endogenous provenience of that people: “Michalowski [...] notes that Hurrian, like Sumerian, is a language unrelated to Semitic or Indo-European tongues that dominated the region during and after the third millennium B.C. Perhaps, he suggests, the Hurrians were earlier inhabitants of the region, who, like the Sumerians, had to make room for the Semitic-speaking people who created the world's first empire based at Akkad in central Mesopotamia around 2350 B.C.”.
     The author ends with a remark on the importance of the Hurrian, people able to build monumental architecture and to contribute in art, music and literature: therefore, “Hurrian creativity can shine once again”.

[M. De Pietri – July 2019]