Terqa Electronic Library

Articles and monographs

Documentary publication and interpretive studies
pertaining to specific finds or topics.

TFR: Final Reports
TPR: Preliminary Reports
Articles and monographs
Newsletters and short notices
1.5 MB
1977 Giorgio Buccellati
Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

New Archaeological Harvests from Syria
Abstract: Setting foot in Palmyra, our general time frame was around 2,000 B.C. Our goal was to see if evidence of human occupation for that time period could be found--artifacts such as pottery, burials, or ideally, settlements. Unfortunately, we found none that we can identify from that time frame. However, we did find items that could be dated earlier, back to the Paleolithic and later. Returning about 10 years later, to the city of Mari, just south of Terqa, modern Ashara, we found a plentiful amount of cunieform tablets in the ruins of the ancient palace. From these tablets we gained a great deal of information about Terqa which was, at the time, a province of Mari.
AfO 26
1 MB
1978 Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

"Tall Ashara - Terqa"
Abstract: Not available.
11 MB
1978 Giorgio Buccellati
Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

IIMAS Field Encoding Manual (Non-digital)
Abstract: A goal-directed and efficient management of an archaeological operation is as important as the results of laboratory analysis, statistical computation, cultural elaboration, and so on. Archaeological strategraphic encoding is by necessity tied to the intrinsically ephemral moment of discovery. We must closely monitor the act of recovery in order to properly encode the volatile nature of the stratigraphic record as it is being disentangled. At the same time, monitoring should be sufficiently discrete so as not to become a source of disturbing static.
BM 10
1 MB
1979 Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

"The Evidence of Artifactual Evidence: Early Third Millennium Pottery at Terqa"
Abstract: Third millennium ceramics from Terqa have not been recovered in large quantities anywhere on the site. This is especially true for early third millennium ceramics. The nature of the third millennium stratigraphy excavated so far is an important factor in this since we have uncovered strata associated with the construction of the city walls or immediately inside them, as in Area B. Only in one Operation (MP19) did we excavate in what appears to be early third millennium habitational levels inside but not immediately adjacent to the defensive rings. The most important in terms of amounts of the early third millennium pottery directly associated with the defensive system came from MP13 FT4 and 6 which are related stratigraphically to CW3 ; SG60 levels 1-3 ; SG6 1 levels 10-1 6 ; and SG 1 7 levels 10- 18. The complete description of early third millennium ware and shape types is given in
1980 Stephen Reimer

Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin
Abstract: The Tell, approximately two thirds of which is presently occupied by the modern Syrian village of Ashara, has unequivocally been identified as the Babylonian city of Terqa. Terqa is located some forty miles north of Mari and sixty miles south of the province capital, Deir ez-Zor. Jointly, UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles are in their fifth excavation sequence under the aegis of the Joint Expedition of Terqa, with the cooperation of John Hopkins University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Poitiers. The project directors are Giorgio buccellati and Marylin Kelly-Buccellati. This article examines the excavation seasons of Terqa and gradual expansion of understanding of the biblical world, its life and its practices.
Nature 295
0.5 MB
1982 Giorgio Buccellati

"Asphalt in carbon-14-dated archaeological samples from Terqa, Syria"
Abstract: The presence of fossil fuel compounds in archaeological samples giving ages much higher than expected has long been suspected but never proved by appropriate chemical analysis. An excessively high conventional 14C age was found in an archaeological charcoal sample from Terqa, Syria (S313, Table 1). Its 14C age of 28,700 yr BP was at variance with the archaeological context, and with the 14C age of seveal other samples (such as S283,Table 1) obtained from the same area and expected to date from -3000 BC or younger. The inconsistency can be explained by assuming contamination with geologically old material--either industrial petroleum products or ancient asphalt.
3 MB
1982 Renata M. Liggett

"Ancient Terqa and Its Temple of Ninkarrak: The Excavations of the Fifth and Sixth Seasons,"

Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin
Abstract: In the developments of the past few years at, for instance, Tell Mardikh in northern Syria, a single resource, such as a grammatical element or mention of a foreign ruler, can provide the basis or a clue for a new interpretation of the material. The excavations at Terqa are intended to incorporate all manner of data into a reconstruction of the historical record of the Mid-Euphrates region. This article provides a brief overview of the discoveries, which, applied to the many facets of research surrounding the ancient city of Terqa and its environs, will produce a solid understanding of a particular region at various crucial times in the history of ancient Syria.
1 MB
1983 Giorgio Buccellati

Terqa: An Introduction to the Site
Abstract: This booklet intends to introduce the reader to ancient Terqa, which is located at the heart of the Middle Euphrates region. The historical background of Terqa is detailed and presented in a timeline and the associated Joint Expidition to Terqa institutions are exhibited.
.5 MB
1983 Giorgio Buccellati
Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

"Terqa: The First Eight Seasons,"

Les Annales Archeologiques Arabes Syriennes.
Abstract: Terqa seemed to be a major urban center from its very inception, rather than having developed slowely through a progressive and organice expansion of the settlement. A possible interpretation is that Terqa was founded as a city by the people of neighboring Qraya, some 5 kms. upstream, where the occupation is well preserved for the fourth millennium but seems to disappear in the third.
TFR Intro
1.5 MB
1984 Giorgio Buccellati

An Introduction to the Final Reports"
Abstract: The sorting criteria for the final reports are stratigraphic first and then typological. In the case of the current volume, we deal stratigraphically with a single room (STCA 1, Fig. 1) and one occupational period. The documents presented here are of interest because 1) they are the first sizeable body of evidence coming from regular excavations which can be used for the history of the kingdom of Khana, 2) the texts allow us to set a vast assemblage of material culture found in stratigraphically related contexts in its proper time frame, 3)the personal names are interesting in their continuity and diversification vis-a-vis Mari, 4) there is good evidence for several interesting scribal practices, and 5) the tablets contain the seal impressions, which provide ample documentation for the Khana sphragistic style.
5 MB
1984 Stephen Reimer

"Tell Qraya: A Summary of the 1984 Season"
Abstract: Tell Qraya, identified as a Protoliterate site during a reconnaissance survey in 1977 and excavated in four seasons since then, was again excavated in the Fall of 1984.The site is approximately 150 meters in diameter and has about three fourths of its surface occupied by modern houses. It lies on the west bank of the Euphrates river and sits on a rock shelf which has preserved the Tell from erosion by the river.
2 MB
1984 Daniel Shimabuku

"Tell Qraya: Highlights of the 1981 Excavation Season"
Abstract: A detaled in-house report on the excavations season, fully documented now in TFR 4.
0.5 MB
1986 Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati

"Sealing Practices at Terqa,"

Bibliotheca Mesopotamica: Insight through Images, pp. 133-142.
Abstract: This article will discuss three aspects of Terqa sealing practices during the Khana period: (I) the nature of the evidence, (II) the role of the individuals sealing the documents, and (III) the placement of the sealings on the documents. The last section (IV) brings out the evidence for kinship relations during the Khana period at Terqa on the basis of these documents. It is fitting that the publication of this new, excavated evidence from Terqa is published in honor of Edith Porada since she has dedicated so much of her scholarly activity to integrating new evidence on seals within a framework which she herself contributed immensely to establish and continues to refine.
AAAS 36-37
0.5 MB
1986-1987 Giorgio Buccellati

"On The Distribution of Epigraphic Finds at Terqa"
Abstract: One of the interesting aspects of the epigraphic finds at Terqa is the distribution which they exhibit throughout the site. This phenomenon deserves special attention, particularly when our finds are compared to those of the great archives of other ancient Syrian capitals.
4.3 MB
1988 Giorgio Buccellati

"Kingdom and Period of Khana"
Abstract: For a number of years before the discovery of Mari, the tablets of Khana were the only cuneiform texts from Syria known to Assyriologists. Incremented considerably in number by the ongoing excavations at Terqa, they shed light on an important period of ancient Syrian history, corresponding to the Late Old Babylonian period. But more important than the philological construct conveyed by the Khana tablets is the historical construct of the kingdom of Khana, of which first Mari and then Terqa was the capital. This article outlines the unique and hitherto unrecognized geopolitical configuration of the region of Khana, and it shows why Khana after the fall of Mari did not become a petty local kingdom. Documentation is given for a proposed sequential order of the II kings who ruled Khana in the second quarter of the second millennium B.C., based on stratigraphic and textual considerations. Finally, a case is made for a pattern of urban-rural interaction, that was unique to Khana society within the whole ancient Near East.
Sinpson Khana
350 KB
1988 Kay Simpson

Qraya Modular Reports, No. 1: Early Soundings
Abstract: Tell Qraya is a small mound north of Al `Ashara (ancient Terqa), with an extensive Late Uruk occupation, no evidence of third millennium settlement, and reoccupation during the first half of the second millennium. This fascicle describes the first three seasons of excavation, presents a preliminary analysis of artifacts recovered, and details the stratigraphic history of the site.
Reimer Qraya
350 KB
1989 Stephen Reimer

"Tell Qraya on the Middle Euphrates"
Abstract: A brief report on the 1984 season.
3.8 MB
1990 Giorgio Buccellati

"The Growth of Nomadism on the Middle Euphrates and the Khabur"
Abstract: Ancient Syria has clearly emerged as a pivital point in the early development of civilization; and the Khabur region is rapidly acquiring unique prominence within these newly opened vistas. The goal of this presentation is to reflect on some of the presuppositions which may help focus more sharply on the data that is being excavated.
500 KB
1990 Giorgio Buccellati

"Salt at the Dawn of History"
Abstract: An interpretaion of the beveled rim bowls, found in large quantitir4s at Qraya, as an element in the process of salt production. Salt was available in the Bouara playas to the east of Qraya, and was refined through a a process for which we find evidence in the material assemblage at Qraya. It was then distributed to the cities in the north, which were responsible for identifying the source, organizing the production and planning for the transport – a type of trade model different at variance with the other types connected with early urbanism.
8 MB
1990 Giorgio Buccellati

"The Rural Landscape of the Ancient Zor: The Terqa Evidence,"

Techniques et Pratiques Hydro-Agricoles Traditionnelles en Domaine Irrigué, pp. 155-169.
Abstract: We conduct concurrent excavations at four sites in the region of Khabur: Terqa and Qraya near the mouth of the Khabur, Ziyadah (or Zeidya), just below the confluence of the feeder brances which form the Khabur triangle, and Mozan near the headqaters of one of the feeder branches. The unique regional interest of the project lies in the fact that the four sites represent related but different cultures, which are conditioned in turn by related yet different geographical settings.
Eblaitica 3
1.2 MB
1992 Giorgio Buccellati

"Ebla and the Amorites"

Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, pp. 83-104.
Abstract: The Ebla querelle, if one may so term the sharply divergent opinions which have come to be voiced about the nature of the language and culture of third-millennium Ebla, is happily on the wane. Happily, because little scholarly benefit came from it; and on the wane, because the difficult task of philological documentation is absorbing the better part of the effort being currently expended in this area. While it is not my intent to review here any of the aspects of this affair, I will refer to it at certain junctures, from the following perspective: the internal dynamics of the querelle as a form of scholarly discourse has, in my view, led to a certain crystallization of substantive and methodological presuppositions, which have been at times accepted too soon and too uncritically. The resulting scholarly perception has to be taken into consideration as a sort of mindset which conditions the direction taken by the research, through the assumptions it posits (often tacitly) upstream of any interpretation. In other words, while the querelle may well have subsided, the factors which led to its coming into being are still operative and should be addressed on their scholarly merits.
Art 1996 Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati


The Dictionary of Art, Vol. 31, p. 492
Abstract: Not Available
500 KB
1997 Giorgio Buccellati
Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati


The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, pp. 188-190.
Abstract:TERQA, modern Ashara, site located directly on the banks of the Euphrates River (34'55' N, 4034' E). The identification of the tell was one of the very first proposed in Syrian archaeology: it was established in 1910 when Ernst Herzfeld found on the surface of the site a cuneiform tablet that related the construction of the Temple of Dagan in Terqa (E. Herzfeld, "Hana et Mari," Revue d'Assyriologie II [1910]: 131-139).
Podany 2002 Amanda H. Podany

The Land of Hana. Kings, Chronology, and Scribal Tradition

Bethesda MD: CDL Press
Abstract: A revised and much expanded version of a 1988 UCLA doctoral dissertation, the book presents a full critical edition of the first batch of the GC 1 texts, i.e., those that had come to light before our excavations (GC 1 1-16). The author offers a clear overview of the history of Khana and Terqa in the period covered by these texts, an exhaustive philological edition of all the texts, and a study of three special topics: the legal clauses, the physical attributes, and the overall content of the texts. The book covers the political entity known from a given royal titulary that refers to this territory, but it excludes the kingdom of Mari (whose kings used the word Khana in their title), and it also excludes the "land of Khana" as the territory of a people generally understood as atribal group. The book deals, in other words, with the "kingdom of Khana" tout court, not with the kingdom of Mari and Khana nor the land of the Khaneans. The narrow meaning of this royal title is known from tablets that were found before our excavations, and which are assumed to come from Terqa (GC 1 t1-16), as well as the texts found during the Terqa excavations and dating after the fall of Mari (GC 1 17-54).
Salt experiment
800 KB
2020 Beatrice Hopkinson
Giorgio Buccellati

The Qraya Salt Experiment
in Marius Alexianou and Roxana-Gabriela Curca,

Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Anthropology of Salt.

Abstract: Qraya is a small site on the middle Euphrates in Western Syria: excavations carried out between 1977 and 1984 gave abundant evidence for late fourth millennium occupation. The diminutive size of the site and the lack of monumental architecture indicates that this was not an urban site; and yet, some of the vessels, in particular the so-called beveled rim bowls, were found in very large quantities, such as are normally associated with large scale activities typical of early urbanism. An experiment was carried out in 1989 to test the hypothesis that these vessels could be used in the production of salt destined for the large contemporary cities in the north (where salt was lacking). At Qraya, salt could be procured in raw form in the nearby playas of Bouara, and could be processed easily with the abundant water from the Euphrates river. The experiment was successful, and it is presented here in full detail. The whole inventory of artifacts found at the site can be explained in function of the process entailed in the production of salt. The beveled rim bowls, in particular, can be seen to have served as ideal vessels for both the production and the conservation of salt. Importantly, this speaks to a unusual trade model, one that was initiated by the cities in the north specifically to exploit a distant natural resource (the salt from the playa), by processing it and shipping it to the cities in the north

Back to top