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World’s oldest emoji discovered on 3700-year-old pot in Turkey

The site depicts the era of the Hittites, an ancient civilisation and empire that is believed to have existed in the north-central Anatolian region.

Jul 25, 2017 14:48 IST
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A group of archaeologists working on a site in southern Turkey in July 2017 discovered a 3700-year-old smiley face, which is drawn on the side of a jug.

A team of Turkish and Italian archaeologists have been exploring a site on the Turkish-Syrian border, but they have never encountered such an object before.

The site depicts the era of the Hittites, an ancient civilisation and empire that is believed to have existed in the north-central Anatolian region.

The ancient smiley jug will be displayed at the nearby Gaziantep Museum of Archaeology.

World’s oldest emoji discovered on 3700-year-old pot in Turkey

Key highlights

The pitcher was found in a burial chamber.

The unusual pitcher in question was originally off-white in colour and features a short thin neck, wide body and small handle.

It was used for a sweet sherbet-like drink, and dates back to 1700 BC.

Archaeologists only realised the smile was there when the pot was taken to a lab for restoration work.

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Who were Hitties?

The Hittites were an Anatolian people who ruled an empire that stretched from modern-day Greece and Egypt across Turkey into Syria.

The history of the Hittite civilization is known mostly from cuneiform texts found in the area of their kingdom, and from diplomatic and commercial correspondence found in various archives in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and the Middle East.

Their civilisation eventually collapsed into smaller states during the Bronze Age and finally succumbed to the Neo-Assyrian Empire around 1178 BC.

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