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Archaeological site of Mari – University of Copenhagen

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Der Ezzor


Archaeological site of Mari

Historical & archaeological value

Mari was among the first sites in Syria to be excavated, and archaeological research started in the 1930s, continuing until recently. The city was part of an ancient Bronze-Age kingdom centered on modern Tell-Hariri, around 70km. to the south of Der Ezzor, and has been recognized as a key site in modern Syria. Impressive architectural remains have been excavated on the site, including palaces and temples from the Early Bronze Age when the city was an important center for metalworking. There is also evidence linking Mari and Ebla as far back as the 3rd millennium BC.

The best documented period at the site is the Bronze Age, in particular royal palaces and temples dated to the Early Bronze Age, as well as an impressive Middle Bronze Age royal palace-the Zimri-Lim palace named after the last king of Mari before its destruction by Babylonian troops around 1760 BC. The range of artefacts found at the site include a rich and varied cuneiform tablet archive dating from 2000-1600 BC, which provides one of the most extensive archive collections of the period. Another palace has also been excavated and named the Šakkanakku royal palace, after a local governor during Akkadian domination of the city. Temples dedicated to local Syrian deities such as Ishtar as well as Mesopotamian gods such as Shamash have also been found at the site.

The site has been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 1999.