Tell Taban
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Tell Taban
Tell Taban
Tell Taban.png
The west side of the tell
Tell Taban is located in Syria
Tell Taban
Shown within Syria
LocationAl-Hasakah Governorate, Syria
Coordinates36°20?11?N 40°47?17?E / 36.33639°N 40.78806°E / 36.33639; 40.78806Coordinates: 36°20?11?N 40°47?17?E / 36.33639°N 40.78806°E / 36.33639; 40.78806
Site notes
ArchaeologistsHirotoshi Numoto, Daisuke Shibata, and Shigeo Yamada

Tell Taban is an archaeological site in north-eastern Syria in the Al-Hasakah Governorate. It is the site of the ancient city of betu.[1]


The site was first excavated from 1997 until 1999 as a salvage operation in response to the effects of the Hassake dam. [2][3][4] A number of inscribed objects, mostly building inscriptions, were found. The site was again excavated in 2005 through 2007. More inscriptions and an archive containing over 100 cuneiform tablets were found.[5][6][7][8]



The city was mentioned in 18th century BC as a regional center named batum in the tablets of the kingdom of Mari,[9] and was destroyed by Samsu-Iluna of Babylon.[10] then came under the rule of the Assyrians.[11]

Autonomous kingdom

An autonomous dynasty ruled the city between the 14th and 12th centuries BC under the suzerainty and acknowledging the supremacy of the Middle Assyrian kings; the rulers of betu styled themselves "the kings of betu and the Land of Mari".[1]

By the time of middle-Assyrian period kingdom of betu, the designation "Mari" was likely used to indicate the lands around betu and did not refer to the ancient kingdom of Mari located on the Euphrates.[12] Another possibility is that Mari from the betu king's title correspond to "Marê"; a city mentioned c. 803 BC in the stele of Nergal-ere?, a Limmu of the neo-Assyrian king Adad-nirari III.[13] Marê was mentioned in association with Ra?appu which was likely located in the southern and eastern slopes of the Sinjar Mountains.[13]

The origin of the dynasty is vague; the first known two rulers bore Hurrian names.[14] However, "the land of Mari" is mentioned in the Hurrian Mitannian archive of Nuzi, and tablets dating to the 15th and 14th centuries BC from Tell Taban itself reveal that the inhabitants were Amorites.[14] The dynasty could have been Amorite in origin but adopted Hurrian royal names to appease the Mitannian empire.[14] The kings of betu seems to have acknowledged the authority of Assyria as soon as the Assyrian conquest of Mitanni began; in return, the Assyrians approved the continuation of the local dynasty whose rulers were quickly Assyrianised and adopted Assyrian names replacing the Hurrian names.[14] This is a list of the kings of betu who belonged to the same dynasty.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b Numoto, Shibata & Yamada 2013, p. 167.
  2. ^ Ohnuma, K. et al. 1999: 'Excavation at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (1): Report of the 1997 Season of Work', Al-Rafidan, vol. 20, pp. 1-47
  3. ^ Ohnuma, K. et al. 2000: 'Excavation at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (2): Report of the 1998 Season of Work', Al-Rafidan, vol. 21, pp. 1-70
  4. ^ Ohnuma, K. et al. 2001: 'Excavation at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (3): Report of the 1999 Season of Work', Al-Rafidan, vol., pp. 1-63
  5. ^ Numoto, H., Excavation at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (4): Preliminary Report of the 2005 Winter Season of Work, Al-R?fid?n, vol. 27, pp. 1-43, 2006
  6. ^ Hirotoshi Numoto,. Excavation at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (5). Preliminary Report of the 2005 Summer season , Al-R?fid?n, vol. 28, p. 1-62, 2007
  7. ^ Numoto, H., Excavations at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria (6): Preliminary Report of the 2006 Season of Work, Al-R?fid?n, vol. 29, pp. 1-46, 2008
  8. ^ Numoto, H., Excavations at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria; Preliminary Report on the 2007 Season of Excavations, in: H. Numoto, ed., Excavations at Tell Taban, Hassake, Syria: Preliminary Report on the 2007 Season of Excavations, and the Study of Cuneiform Texts, Tokyo, pp. 1-86, 2009
  9. ^ Numoto, Shibata & Yamada 2013, p. 171.
  10. ^ Numoto, Shibata & Yamada 2013, p. 177.
  11. ^ Kokushikan Daigaku, Iraku Kodai Bunka Kenky?jo (2007). Journal of Western Asiatic studies, Volume 28. p. 50.
  12. ^ Podany 2002, p. 12.
  13. ^ a b Frederick Mario Fales (1992). "MARl: AN ADDITIONAL NOTE ON "RASAPPU AND HATALLU"". State Archives of Assyria Bulletin (SAAB). 6. p. 105.
  14. ^ a b c d Daisuke Shibata (2011). "The origin of the dynasty of the Land of M?ri and the city-god of betu". Revue d'assyriologie et d'archéologie orientale. 105. Presses Universitaires de France. pp. 165-180.
  15. ^ Numoto, Shibata & Yamada 2013, p. 170.
  16. ^ Daisuke Shibata (2012). "Local Power in the Middle Assyrian Period: The "Kings of the Land of M?ri" in the Middle Habur Region". In Gernot Wilhelm (ed.). Organization, Representation, and Symbols of Power in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 54th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale at Würzburg, 20-25 July 2008. Eisenbrauns. p. 492.


See also

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