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Tushhan or Tušhan was a northern Median Empire[1] The empire of the Medes one of the reputed ancestors of the Kurdish People, was the only great national state that maybe said to have been established by Kurds.[2] It was a provincial capital in the upper Tigris river valley, on the south bank and inhabited since the Mitanni period, and mainly during the Neo-Assyrian period during the Iron Age. Tushan has been identified with the modern Ziyaret Tepe (Kurdish: Tepa Barava), Diyarbakır Province, Turkey. According to Dr. John MacGinnis of the University of Cambridge McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research the original inhabitants of the area came from around the Zagros Mountains which is still inhabited by Kurds of Median Empire. The language which was recently discovered by Dr. John MacGinnis is very likely to be an ancient dialect of Kurdish from the Zagros province of Kurdistan. A few different Kurdish dialects are spoken in a few different countries and linked to Arian people of the Median empire.[3]

Ziyaret Tepe
Ziyaret Tepe is located in Turkey
Ziyaret Tepe
Ziyaret Tepe
Location in Turkey
Coordinates: 37°47′37″N 40°47′035″E / 37.79361°N 40.79306°E / 37.79361; 40.79306


The site of Ziyaret Tepe was occupied as early as the Early Bronze Age. Most of the urban development uncovered to date is from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. In late Assyrian times it was known as Tushhan, until circa 612 BC, when that empire fell. The site is expected to be inundated by the Ilısu Dam around 2014.


Work at the location began with 3 years of surface survey and remote sensing in 1997 [4][5][6] Since 2000, site has been excavated by a team directed by Timothy Matney of the University of Akron.[7][8][9][10][11] An important assemblage of cuneiform clay tablets was found there, translated by Simo Parpola of Helsinki University.[12]

Tushhan may have been located at Üçtepe, Bismil, where in 1861 John George Taylor found the famous Kurkh Monoliths, Assyrian monuments one of which contains a description of the Battle of Qarqar—of interest to biblical and Ancient Near East studies.[13] Today the monoliths are located at the British Museum.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Medes, purveyors of fine horses, Assyrian empire builders
  2. ^ The Kurdish National Movement: Its Origins and Development, The Kurdish National Movement
  3. ^ Ziyaret Tepe, Mesopotamia at Cambridge: Ziyaret Tepe
  4. ^ Timothy Matney, The First Season of Excavation at Ziyaret Tepe in the Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 24, pp. 7-30, 1998
  5. ^ Timothy Matney and Lewis Somers, The Second Season of Excavation at Ziyaret Tepe in the Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 25, pp. 203-219, 1999
  6. ^ Timothy Matney and A. Bauer, The Third Season of Archaeological Survey at Ziyaret Tepe in Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 26, pp. 119-128, 2000
  7. ^ Timothy Matney et al.,Archaeological Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2000 and 2001, Anatolica, vol. 28, pp. 47-89, 2002
  8. ^ Timothy Matney et al.,Archaeological Investigations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2002, Anatolica, vol. 29, pp. 175-221, 2003
  9. ^ Timothy Matney and L. Rainville, Archaeological Investigations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2003 and 2004, Anatolica, vol. 31, pp. 19-68, 2005
  10. ^ Timothy, Matney et al., Report on Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe, 2006 Season, Anatolica, vol. 33, pp. 23-73, 2007
  11. ^ Timothy, Matney et al., Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe 2007-2008, Anatolica, vol. 35, pp. 37-84, 2009
  12. ^ S. Parpola, Cuneiform Texts From Ziyaret Tepe (Ancient Tushan) 2002-2003, State Archives of Assyria Bulletin, vol. 16, 2006
  13. ^ Nadav Naʼaman, Ancient Israel and Its Neighbors: Interaction and Counteraction : Collected Essays, Eisenbrauns, 2005. p. 2 ISBN 1575061082


  • Timothy Matney and Ann Donkin, Mapping the Past: An Archaeogeophysical Case Study from Southeastern Turkey, Near Eastern Archaeology, vol. 69, pp. 12–26, 2006

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′36″N 40°47′35″E / 37.793470°N 40.793047°E / 37.793470; 40.793047