THE 500 years of a rival civilisation to the Ancient Egyptians and a Blackburn man’s role in uncovering its history are coming to the town’s museum next month.

John Garstang was responsible for re-discovering the virtually forgotten ancient Hittite empire when he was excavating in south-east Turkey between 1908 and 1911.

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery’s new exhibition, with some of his original discoveries, reveal their lesser known civilisation and his role as one of the world’s first archaeologists.

Opening on February 8, the exhibition will show how their empire stretched over much of modern day Turkey and Syria where they ruled from about 1600BC to 1100BC, putting them into direct competition with the Ancient Egyptians.

This exhibition will introduce visitors to their history and their culture.

There will be an opportunity to learn about the world’s largest chariot battle, the Battle of Qadesh, and about the first ever peace treaty signed by the Hittites.