Ugarit

In historical sources has been written little about the origin of the Phoenicians. It is known that around 3000 BC canaanite tribes appeared on the Mediterranean coast. They are united in a few city-states along the coast. The most important settlements include Byblos and Ugarit. The Phoenicians created a culture that has spread far across the Middle East.

The most important settlements include Byblos and Ugarit

Byblos and Ugarit played a very important role in the history of Phoenicia. Ugarit, whose ruins were discovered in 1928 near the Gulf of Oral-el-Beida, 10 km to the north of the Syrian city of Latakia, is one of the oldest and most remarkable monuments of history.

More than three millennia Ugarit remained in oblivion. In 1928, a farmer in plowing came across a few well-hewn stones: it turned out that they are part of a long underground passage leading to the burial chamber. Opening peasant attracted the attention of French archaeologists. Young scientist Claude Schaeffer began to explore the mysterious discovery. From now on, the name of K. Schaeffer became inextricably linked with the Ugarit, just as the name Schliemann connected with Troy.

His excavations Schaeffer began in 1929. His attention was immediately attracted hill Ras Shamra Ash in a remote bend of the river. Already during the first reconnaissance excavations here have been found figurines, dishes, utensils and funeral tablets with inscriptions.

Each year Schaeffer continued his work in the settlement of Ugarit. They are five major historical and cultural layers were found. In one of the early layers, archaeologists came upon the remains of settlements and burials 3-2 millennium BC human remains lay in the tomb. Most of them have necklaces, bracelets, beads of small tubes and spirals, and so on.

Excavations at Ugarit discovered the remains of a well-fortified city walls with arched gates, a number of churches, well-appointed home. It was especially important to the discovery of the royal palace with the two-column entrance portico and numerous facilities.

The path to the royal palace leads through downtown. The well-preserved street width 3-4 m surrounded by large blocks of houses. Very close to the palace was a residential area of the nobility. The walls of many houses reach two meters in height, before they had the second floor. In the courtyards of the houses located wells. Each house is built over three thousand years ago. It had its own water supply.

The ruins of the royal palace are located a mile from the harbor of Mina el Beida. The palace consists of a citadel and the actual royal residence. Clearly preserved the outlines of numerous rooms, interior and front yards. A large number of other premises were operating for the royal scribes and officials.

In Ugarit were found numerous pottery covered with paintings. Among them there are instances of Mycenaean origin. From Egypt came to Ugarit graceful alabaster vases.

In the archives of the royal palace Schaeffer found a mass of clay tablets with cuneiform written partly in the Sumerian and Babylonian, partly on the Hittite and Egyptian languages. But the greatest value among the finds at Ugarit is small, only 10 cm long, clay bar with thirty marks, which aides Schaeffer found in 1949 among many other clay tablets. It was the first alphabet in the history of mankind! Date of the plate refers probably to the 14th century BC. This alphabetic system of the 30 cuneiform signs, transmit only consonants, it was used to write text in an ancient language of Canaan group. Phoenicians have improved cuneiform writing so that their marks are now designated not whole words or syllables. This letter in a converted form was taken by the Greeks. They added their respective language vowels. In this way the alphabet came to Europe.

Ugarit, like many coastal towns of the eastern Mediterranean, died around 1200 BC.

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