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Terqa is the name of an ancient city discovered at the site of Tell Ashara on the banks of the middle Euphrates in Syriamarker, approximately 80 km from the modern border with Iraqmarker. Its name had become Sirqu by Neo-Assyrian times.


Little is yet known of the early history of Terqa, though it was a sizable entity even in theEarly Dynastic period.

In the 2nd millennium BC it was under the control of Shamshi-Adad, followed by Marimarker in the time of Zimri-Lim, and then by Babylonmarker after Mari's defeat by Hamurabi of the First Babylonian Dynasty, Terqa became the leading city of the Khana/Hana kingdom after the decline of Babylon. Later, it fell into the sphere of the Kassite dynasty of Babylonmarker and eventually the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A noted stele of Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta II was found at Terqa.

The principal god of Terqa was Dagan.

Proposed Rulers of Terqa
Ruler Proposed reign Notes
Yapah-Sumu circa 1750
Yadikh-Abu Contemporary of Samsu-iluna of Babylonmarker, 7 year names known
Kastiliyasu 4 year names known
Sunuhru-Ammu 4 year names known
Ammi-Madar 1 year name known
Isar-Lim 1 year name known
Isih-Dagan 1 year name known
Hammurapih 3 year names known
Parshatatar Mitanni king


The main site is around 20 acres in size and has a height of 60 feet. The remainsof Terqa are partly covered by the modern town of Ashara, which limits thepossibilities for excavation.

The site was briefly excavated by E. Herzfeld in 1910.

In 1923, 5 days of excavations were conducted by François Thureau-Dangin andP. Dhorrne.

From 1974 to 1986, Terqa was excavated for 10 seasons by a team from theInternational Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies including theInstitute of Archaeology at the University of California at Los Angelesmarker, California State University at Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Arizonamarker and the University of Poitiers in France. The team wasled by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati.

Notable features found at Terqa include

  • A city wall consisting of three concentric masonry walls, 20 feet high and 60 feet in width, fronted by a 60 foot wide moat. The walls encompase a total area of around 60 acres, were build circa 3000 BC and were in use until at least 2000 BC.

  • A temple to Ninkarrak dating at least as old as the 3rd millenium. The temple finds included Egyptian scarabs.

  • The House of Puzurum, where a large and important archive of tablets were found.


  1. E. Herzfeld, Hana et Mari, RA, vol. 11, pp. 131-39, 1910
  2. François Thureau-Dangin and P. Dhorrne, Cinq jours de fouilles à 'Ashârah (7-11 Septembre 1923), Syria, vol. 5, pp. 265-93, 1924
  3. G. Buccellati and M. Kelly-Buccellati, Terqa Preliminary Reports 1: General Introduction and the Stratigraphic Record of the First Two Seasons, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, vol 1, no.3, pp. 73-133, 1977
  4. G. Buccellati and M. Kelly-Buccellati, Terqa Preliminary Reports 6: The Third Season: Introduction and the Stratigraphic Record, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies, vol 2, pp. 115-164, 1978
  5. Giorgio Buccellati, Terqa Preliminary Reports 10: The Fourth Season: Introduction and Stratigraphic Record, Undena, 1979, ISBN 0890030421
  6. R. M. Liggett, Ancient Terqa and its Temple of Ninkarrak: the Excavations of the Fifth and Sixth Seasons, Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin, NS 19, pp. 5-25, 1982


  • Giorgio Buccellati, The Kingdom and Period of Khana, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 270, pp. 43-61, 1977
  • M. Chavalas, Terqa and the Kingdom of Khana, Biblical Archaeology, vol. 59, pp. 90-103, 1996

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