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Urkesh toponomastics

 updated as of June 12, 2002



t1                        For the reading Urkeš rather than Urkiš, see Buccellati and Kelly-Buccellati 1995/96 “Storehouse” p. 1, n. 1; Buccellati and Kelly-Buccellati 1996 “King” pp.69-71.

                            Contrary to what might seem at first, the Old Babylonian writing Ur-gi-iš.KI confirms the reading Urkeš rather than Urkiš. The reason is that in Hurrian orthography (as known from the Mittani letter found at Amarna) the two signs KI / GI render the phonemic opposition /Ki/~ /Ke/ (see Giorgeri 2000 “Schizzo” p. 181 and 182). Accordingly, the OB writing of the name should be transliterated Ur-ke2-eš15-KI. And note that in the Urbana itinerary the name is written Ur-ge-eš (Goetze 1953 “Itinerary” p.53f).  This implies that even in letters written in Akkadian, the OB scribes respected Hurrian conventions when referring to Urkesh.