added by archaeologs A kingdom of the 1st millennium BC in the mountains north of Assyria (northwest Iran, northeast Anatolia, Armenia, in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea) which was the last important Hurrian-speaking state. Its people, relatives of the Hurri, established themselves around Lake Van during the 2nd millennium BC. Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century BC, Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the 9th-8th centuries BC. The citadel of their capital at Van could be entered only by a rock-cut passage, upon which are cuneiform inscriptions which supplement the records of the Assyrians, with whom the Urartians were usually at war over access to raw materials, such as metal. A promontory nearby had a temple. Urartu is famous for its metalwork, particularly the great bronze cauldrons on tripod stands which were traded as far as Etruscan Italy, and for fine, red burnished ware. They adapted a cuneiform script to their own language, a late dialect of Hurrian, which has been deciphered. The language is mainly known from rock-face inscriptions dating from 8th century BC in the eastern part of Asia Minor. Pressure from the Cimmerians, Phrygians, and Scythians led to disappearance of kingdom c 590 BC, and they were overcome by invading Armenians.
added by archaeologs A kingdom that flourished in the early 1st millennium bc in the region of Armenia (i.e. eastern Turkey and adjacent areas of Iran and the USSR). Its centre was in the Lake Van region. The name Urartu first appears in documentary sources in the 13th century bc and the kingdom was in existence by c900 bc. It lasted for some 300 years before succumbing to pressures from groups such as the Cimmerians, the Phrygians and the Scythians. The Urartians are known from a number of sites, characterized by their heavily defended citadels that at Van had to be entered through a rock-cut passage. They adapted the cuneiform script to their language, which is closely related to Hurrian, and they have left rock-cut inscriptions, some of them bilingual. They were accomplished metalworkers, producing bronze weapons and armour and sheet bronze vessels, including cauldrons with animal heads on the rim, set on tripod stands, which were widely traded in the ancient world.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983