The Hittite

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The Gelidonya wreck's smaller, somewhat later collection was mostly marked at least once out of 39 oxhide ingots , and often twice. Here the primary signs were stamped on the mold side or - more often -its rough upper surface, before the ingot had hardened ; secondary signs were later incised on the rough upper side Single signs were also incised on two of the tools that were being transported as scrap Variations in ingot weight and size show that the signs could not have referred to any fixed measure for either cargo33; and the position of signs on partial ingots indicates that even the secondary marks were incised before or while the shipment was assembled.

Correlating signs and ingot stacking order in the Gelidonya wreck invited no obvious pattern, from which the excavator concluded that the signs. Since a tin ingot from Uluburun was incised with a mark also found on copper ingots, the secondary marks were perhaps instead added during a business transaction, still prior to loading However, the Gelidonya stamped marks could only have been impressed at the smelter, and in this they corresponded exactly to marks incised on pots before firing.

Their appearance in the later wreck could mean that procedures for administrative checks were refined after the mid-XIIIth century. It is increasingly likely that the copper from these boats was mined, smelted and distributed from Cyprus36, a member of the commercial and political alliance in the northeast Mediterranean for which the Hittite kings of this period were guarantors The widespread occurrence of marks on ingots found throughout the Mediterranean implies that they performed an understood function within the economic system More important to this discussion, however, is that the smelter stamps answered the "same need as the potmarks, distinguishing, for the moment of their initial sale, between similar items that were produced in several places or in facilities involving multiple employees.

Another class of commodity that was marked to identify owner and - ultimately - seller is herded animals.

Here the evidence comes from Hittite laws stating penalties incurred if brands were removed from cattle, horses or sheep. Contemporary Middle Assyrian legal texts referred to the same practice, suggesting it was a common device Like the potmarks and the ingot marks, the animal brands identified property that could otherwise be subject to subterfuge or confusion when it reached the open market.

The brands probably also served an administrative function, such as to assess property for taxation. Once the animals were sold and killed, the brands lost their purpose, as did the marks on pottery and raw metal when they passed from producer to buyer.

Pottery manufacture and metal working represent two of five industries, together with carpentry, leather-working and felt-making, for which the Hittite laws listed fees and conditions for the training of apprentices These industries formed a coherent group because they shared inherent features :.

Private ownership of these workshops is indicated by the fact that purchase prices for the craftsmen themselves were specified They ranked low in the hierarchy of trades, but nonetheless held private land, like their colleagues in Hattusha What indices can be cited for wide-scale government enterprise covering the economic affairs of the entire Hittite territory, so that the production and supply of basic commodities became part of its authority?

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The evidence is indirect and fragmentary, but does form a coherent picture. For instance, restrictions were placed on the business practices of merchants operating within the Hittite borders to circumscribe speculation in goods available more cheaply in different regions. Thus several official documents outlined protocol agreements to prevent the commercial activities of shippers, based in the Mediterranean ports of Ura and elsewhere, from destabilizing the economy of Ugarit once it was. Other measures, drafted into the Hittite legal texts, touched on the responsibilities of employers toward their workers, who could claim compensation in case of accident and whose salaries were based on official standards That these economic principles were applicable to all parts of the Hittite empire is implied by correspondance and treaties between the Hittite kings and their newly acquired associates5 1.

The basic industries would have come under these guidelines too : they would then mass-produce items such as pottery along set norms, and individual workers and suppliers would be compensated and taxed according to similar criteria Such conditions ensured that Cilicia - and its residents - could be bound into the orbit of a central Anatolian administration during the early XIVth century, and successfully kept within it for two hundred years.

The ceramic assemblage documents every aspect of this highly structured and uniform economy, in full concurrence with the written sources : workshop cooperatives ; limited repertoire coinciding in types and distribution with a political entity ; and - in a broader perspective - manufacturing codes the potmarks common to general practice. It is therefore not surprising that with the destruction of Hattusha in the early XIIth century, the dissolution of this centralized system would entail profound changes throughout the same geographical areas, not least in their material culture.

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The Hittites

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The Hittites

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