Arslan Tash

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Arslan Tash
Arslan Tash is located in Syria
Arslan Tash
Shown within Syria
RegionAleppo Governorate
Coordinates36°50′55″N 38°24′28″E / 36.84861°N 38.40778°E / 36.84861; 38.40778Coordinates: 36°50′55″N 38°24′28″E / 36.84861°N 38.40778°E / 36.84861; 38.40778

Arslan Tash (Turkish: Arslan Taş "Stone Lion"), ancient Hadātu, is an archaeological site in Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria, around 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Carchemish and the Euphrates and nearby the town of Kobanî.


The city was the center of an Aramean Iron Age kingdom, which was conquered by Assyria in the 9th century BC. The site includes a Late Assyrian palace, an early shrine to Ishtar and a Hellenistic temple, surrounded by city walls and gates adorned with lions carved from stone.[1]


Plan of the private apartments in the palace at Arslan Tash

The site of Arslan Tash was first examined in 1836 by an expedition led by Francis Rawdon Chesney.[2] The first actual excavations were conducted by the French archaeologist François Thureau-Dangin for the Louvre Museum in two short seasons during 1928. It worked on the fortifications, a Hellenistic period temple, a temple to Ishtar, the "Bâtiment aux ivoires" and late Assyrian remains.[3]

In 2007 and 2008 work at the site resumed when surveys were conducted by a team from University of Bologna and Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums of the Syrian Arab Republic. The team was led by Anas al-Khabour and Serena Maria Cecchini. Each season lasted about a week, with the later one including geophysical work. [4]

Gateway reliefs[edit]

The Arslan Tash reliefs are bas-reliefs of people and animals on the gates of the city and temple. The dating of the reliefs is uncertain, though one contains an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III of the Neo-Assyrian Empire[5]

In February 2015, in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) publicly ordered the bulldozing of a colossal ancient Assyrian gateway lion sculpture from the 8th century BC.[6] Another lion statue was also destroyed. Both statues originated from the Arslan Tash archaeological site.[7] The destruction was published in the ISIL magazine, Dabiq.

Smaller items[edit]

The most important discoveries from Arslan Tash were, however, the ivory objects of high artistic quality which today are kept at the Archaeological Museum in Aleppo and in the Louvre.[8]

The Arslan Tash amulets are smaller pieces whose authenticity is still in debate.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geoffrey Turner, The Palace and Bâtiment Aux Ivoires at Arslan Tash: A Reappraisal, Iraq, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 62-68, 1968
  2. ^ [1] Francis Rawdon Chesney, The expedition for the survey of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, carried on by order of the British government, in the years 1835, 1836, and 1837, Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1850
  3. ^ F. Thureau-Dangin et al., Arslan-Tash, P. Geuthner, 1931
  4. ^ Serena Maria Cecchini, Fabrizio Venturi, A Sounding at Arslan Tash. Re-visiting the Bâtiment aux Ivoires, in R. Matthews & J. Curtis (éd.), Proceedings of the 7th ICAANE, 12 April – 16 April 2010, the British Museum and UCL, London, 3, Wiesbaden, pp. 325-341, 2012
  5. ^ Pauline Albenda, The Gateway and Portal Stone Reliefs from Arslan Tash, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 271, pp. 5-30, 1988
  6. ^ Caubet, Annie. "Syrian Heritage in Jeopardy: The Case of the Arslan Tash Ivories." Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 92-101, 2017
  7. ^ "Lion statues destroyed". UNESCO. Retrieved 27 Feb 2015.
  8. ^ Fontan, Elisabeth, et Ina Reiche, Les ivoires d'Arslan Tash (Syrie) d'après une étude de la collection du Musée du Louvre : mise en œuvre du matériau, traces de polychromie et de dorure, état de conservation, ArchéoSciences, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 283-295, 2011
  9. ^ Jacobus van Dijk, The Authenticity of the Arslan Tash Amulets, Iraq, vol. 54, pp. 65-68, 1992

External links[edit]