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In June 2019, the project “Corpus der hethitischen Festrituale” (HFR) invited renowned international scholars to a symposium discussing recent developments in ancient Near Eastern studies regarding the interpretation of philological and archaeological sources from Anatolia and adjacent areas in the 2nd mill. BCE. The symposium focused on questions concerning the archaeology of temples and other sacred places, differentiation of sacred spaces according to written sources, the organization of festivals with a focus on spatial aspects, participation in festivals, and possibilities of interpretation thanks to insights into the cult practices of areas such as Northern Syria, the Levant, Mesopotamia or Egypt.
While the geographic focus of the symposium proceedings is on Hittite Anatolia, the first section includes studies examining rituals and their temple contexts in Egypt, the Levant, Assyria and Babylonia, providing comparative insights for understanding the Hittite festivals. An archaeological section offers new analyses of existing temple finds as well as a presentation of recent discoveries of sacred architecture, including inventories and sealings, in both Anatolia and the Levant. The remainder of the volume consists primarily of Hittitological philological studies of sacred space, analyzing the significance of various places, such as rivers, loci numinosi, roofs, the movement from one place to another within ritual practices, special terminology and characteristics of various festivals, particularities of cults of several cities and regions, the economic aspects of Hittite festivals and their ideological background in Hittite kingship and the king’s connection to festivals.