Syriac tablet found at Edessa in Turkey

The Turkish press reports that farmers ploughing a field at Urfa in South-East Turkey struck a hard object, which turned out to be a tablet inscribed with Syriac, using the Estrangelo alphabet.

Tablet inscribed with Syriac language in the Estrangelo alphabet from Urfa (Edessa)
Tablet inscribed with Syriac language in the Estrangelo alphabet from Urfa (Edessa)

It was found about eighteen inches below the ground, and weighs about 100 pounds.  It seems to be about 30 x 60 (either inches or centimeters — I couldn’t work out). 

No word on what it says.  Apparently people at Harran university are going to take a look at it, but it will be placed in the museum at Urfa.

Urfa is the site of Edessa, the city whose Aramaic dialect became what we now call Syriac during the period after the conquests of Alexander.  The city was always central to Syriac culture, but was destroyed by the Moslems during the crusader period.

UPDATE:  I have had an email which tells us a little more:

“I am the founder of the platform from Istanbul/TURKEY. I sent this news to George in order to find out what was the tablet about. Now, I am in contact with the museum archeologists of Urfa. They told me that the tablet is still preserved in the area it is found. When it is taken to the museum may be we can get wider size photo of the tablet.

I talked today to the Urfa Museum. They said; it will come to the museum few days later so that we can maybe get a bigger image. When there is an improvement I will inform you.”


5 thoughts on “Syriac tablet found at Edessa in Turkey

  1. Great find.Is it possible for you to send me a high resolution image .I will try to send you an exact copy of what is written on it.

  2. Syriacs appeared in historical Armenia much later. Urfa is recorded in Assyrian and Vannic inscriptions as Urhay, UR/AR is Creator in Armenian and Hay is self designation for Armenians. You can clearly see Armenian letters on the tablet. It is recorded in Armenian chronicles that King Pap called Urfa a city built by his ancestors.

  3. I am an Assyrian and our language is Syriac, a modern Aramaic dialect. From what I’ve read in Assyrian sources regarding “Ur-Hay” or “Ur-Hai”. The word “Ur” in Aramaic means a water well. “Hay” or “Hai” mean life. Assyrians today, in our daily conversation we use the word “Ur” for water well, source, fountain, etc. We also say “Kha-yeh” which means “Life” in English. So over centuries and depending on the location the “H” can be pronounced as a soft “h” or hard “H” as in the Arabic “Hayat” meaning Life, and the Hebrew “Khay” meaning life. I am not a scholar however I have done extensive research and reading for decades. I hope a Syriac, Aramaic or Hebrew scholar can add to my comments.

Leave a Reply