Turkish authorities have announced that the site of the ancient city of Carchemish will be opened for excavation later this year. The excavation will be conducted by archaeologists from Italy and Japan.
The city of Carchemish played an important role in the history of the Ancient Near East. It was at Carchemish that the Treaty of Kadesh was signed. This peace treaty was signed after the battle of Kadesh on the Orontes (c. 1274 B.C.), in which the Egyptian army under the command of Ramesses II confronted the Hittite army under the command of Muwatallis II. According to historical documents, the war between Egypt and the Hittites was one of the largest chariot battles ever fought, involving between 5,000–6,000 chariots.
Carchemish also appears in Jeremiah’s prophecy against Egypt: “About Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Neco, Egypt’s king, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim son of Josiah” (Jeremiah 46:2).
Until recently, the site of Carchemish was closed for excavation because the site was a mined military zone. However, the Turkish authorities removed 1,200 landmines from the area, allowing archaeologists to excavate the site and eventually open the ancient city to promote tourism in the area.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary