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Zincirli, Turkey
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According to its exceptionally well-preserved 13-line inscription, this 3-foot-tall, monumental basalt stela dated to the eighth century B.C.E. depicts the eternal funerary feast of Kuttamuwa, a high official of the Iron Age kingdom of Sam’al (modern Zincirli) in southeastern Turkey. Seated in a simple, straight-backed chair, the bearded, flat-nosed Kuttamuwa wears a pointed, tasseled cap and is clad in a long, fringed robe. In one hand he holds a pinecone, symbol of the timber-rich Amanus mountains that surround Sam’al, and in the other, a fluted chalice, probably filled with wine. Before him is a table laden with sumptuous foods prepared for his mortuary feast, including duck, loaves of bread and roasted meat.
The stela’s Samalian inscription, …

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