added by archaeologs A people who established a kingdom in central Turkey in the 2nd millennium BC and later extended it into northern Syria. Their first capital was at Kushara, not yet identified, but it was soon moved to Hattusas, modem Boghazkôy. The Hittites did not originate in Anatolia and are thought to have infiltrated from the north. They were Indo-European speakers and indeed Hittite is the earliest Indo-European language to be written down. The Hittites are known both from documentary and archaeological sources. From the documents we know that they challenged Hurrians, Assyrians and Egyptians. In 1286 or 1285 bc they fought the Egyptians under Raineses II at Kadesh, a battle which was probably indecisive, although the Egyptians claimed victory. From archaeological remains we know the Hittites especially for their relief sculpture, found in the cities themselves and also in rock sanctuaries like Yazilkaya, and for their inscriptions (in hieroglyphs on their public monuments, although cuneiform was used for adminstrative records). They are also known for their metal-working. They exploited and traded copper, lead, silver and also iron; indeed, they were among the first peoples to use iron, and for a period maintained a virtual monopoly in the new metal. In cl200 bc the Hittite empire came to an apparently abrupt end, perhaps as a result of some of the folk movements that characterized the whole of the eastern Mediterranean area at this time (see Peoples of the Sea). After this date Hittite culture survived in the city states of northern Syria, described as Neo-Hittite or Syro-Hittite. These cities, such as Carchem-ish, Karatepe, Malatya and Sakce Gozu, were finally incorporated into the Assyrian empire in the 8th century bc.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983