There is some evidence of occupation as far back as the Early Dynastic period, including some Hurrian presence in the middle 2nd Millennium. The majority of excavated material, however, is from the Middle Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian times, including glyphic and epigraphic material.
The site consists of a large mound and covers around 30 acres (120,000 m2).
After some minor soundings done by Austen Henry Layard around 1850, Tell Billa was excavated between 1930 and 1934 by a team from the University of Pennsylvania and the American Schools of Oriental Research. The excavation was led by E.A. Speiser with Charles Bache.      
- The Expedition to Tell Billa and Tepe Gawra, Bulletin of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, vol. 3(2), pp. 59-66, 1931
- Developments at Tell Billa and Tepe Gawra, Bulletin of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, vol. 3(3/4), pp. 94-95, 1932
- Excavations at Tell Billa and Tepe Gawra, Bulletin of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, vol. 3(5), pp. 126-130, 1932
- E. A. Speiser, The Bearing of the Excavations at Tell Billa and at Tepe Gawra upon the Ethnic Problems of Ancient Mesopotamia, American Journal of Archaeology, vol. XXXVI, pp. 29-35, 1932
- Charles Bache, Work of the Baghdad School, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 51 , pp. 20-26, 1933
- Charles Bache, From Mr. Bache's First Report on the Joint Excavations at Tepe Gawra and Tell Billah, 1932-3, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 49, pp. 8-14, 1933
- C. L. Wooley and E.A. Speiser, Excavations at Ur;the Pottery of Tell Billa, The Museum Journal, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 249–308, 1933
- Jacob J. Finkelstein, Cuneiform Texts from Tell Billa, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 7, pp. 111–176, 1953
- Claudio Saporetti, Middle Assyrian Texts of Tell Billa (Graphemic Categorization, No 3), Undena Publications, 1990, ISBN 0-89003-159-2
- Expedition video from the University of Pennsylvania Museum
- 3rd Millennium BC cylinder seal from Tell Billa - possibly lost
- Archaeological site photographs from the Oriental Institute
- Digital Tell Billa tablets at CDLI