The discovery was possible thanks to some tablets unearthed in Anatolia. They contained inscriptions in a mysterious language. Scientists already anticipate that it will provide invaluable information about the rich linguistic history of that region. The discovery of a new Indo-European language brings a lot of new information.
The decipherment of this scripture is still in progress. It is known to belong to the Late Bronze Age. The surprising discovery occurred in Bogazkoy-Hattusha, north-central Turkey. This historic site was the capital of the formidable Hittite Empire during the Late Bronze Age (1650 to 1200 BC). And that is the repository of a treasure of ancient artifacts for more than a century.
The site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Until now, almost 30,000 clay tablets with cuneiform writing have been found there. Most of the texts are written in Hittite, the oldest attested Indo-European language and the dominant one at the site. However, the excavations in 2023 brought a surprise: the discovery of a new Indo-European language.
The vestiges of the new language were found in a Hittite ritual text provisionally called “Kalasma language.” It was named so because the text refers to the new language as the language of the “land of Kalasma.” It is an area located in the northwest corner of the Hittite heartland. It is probably in the part of present-day Bolu or Gerede, about 100 kilometers from the present-day Turkish capital, Ankara.
“The Hittites were singularly interested in recording rituals in foreign languages.” So declared Daniel Schwemer, the German Middle East expert. The Kalasmaic text remains largely incomprehensible due to its recent discovery. The scholar Elisabeth Rieken, professor at the University of Marburg and specialist in ancient Anatolian languages, spoke about this. She identifies it as belonging to the Indo-European Anatolian language family.
According to her, despite its geographical proximity to the area where Palaic or Palaíta was spoken, the text seems to share more features with Luvito or Luvian. The degree of kinship of the “Kalasma language” with the other Luvian dialects of Late Bronze Age Anatolia will be the subject of further research.