Tell Arbid

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Tell Arbid
Map of Syria in the second millennium BC

Coordinates: 36°52′20.51″N 41°1′17.61″E / 36.8723639°N 41.0215583°E / 36.8723639; 41.0215583 Tell Arbid is an ancient Near East archaeological site in the Khabur River Basin region of Al-Hasakah Governorate, Syria. It is located 45km south of Tell Mozan, the site of ancient Urkesh.


The history and identity of Tell Arbid have been emerging as the result of recent excavations. It is now clear that the most prosperous period for the ancient Arbid was the IIIrd millennium B.C.[1]

The site was heavily occupied during the Early Dynastic period that started c. 2900 BC, primarily during Ninevite 5 (2900-2600 BC). In northern Mesopotamia this is equivalent to the Early Jezirah I–II period. The ruins of an extensive city dated to the Ninevite 5 period cover almost the entire site.

Other contemporary sites in this area of Khabur River basin are Hamoukar and Chagar Bazar.

Later, the occupation continued during the Early Dynastic III period (Early Jezirah III, 2600-2350 BC).

The site was occupied only sporadically in the Akkadian, Mitanni, Neo-Babylonian and the Hellenistic period.


The site comprises a large main tell and 4 smaller mounds, together covering about 38 hectares with a height of around 30 meters. The main tell consists primarily of Mittani, Akkadian, Early Dynastic, and Ninevite 5 layers with the later two including monumental buildings. The initial excavation of Tell Arbid was performed by a British Museum team led by M.E.L. Mallowan. The operation ran from 1934 to 1936. Items collected during the excavations ended up in the British Museum, the Institute of Archaeology Collections at University College London, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and in Syria.[2][3] A survey was done at the site in the 1990s by Bertille Lyonnet of the Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques in Paris.[4] Since 1996, the site has been excavated by a Polish and Syrian team led by Piotr Bieliński from University of Warsaw's Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology and Dr. Ahmad Serriyeh from Damascus University.[5][6][7]This work has continued through the 2010 season.[8][9] During 2000 they were assisted by a joint American/Austrian team from the University of Vienna and Archeos Inc.[10]


  1. ^ Polish-Syrian Expedition to Tell Arbid 2015
  2. ^ The excavations at Tell Chagar Bazar and an archaeological survey of the Habur region. 2nd Campaign, M.E.L. Mallowan, 1936
  3. ^ Rafal Kolinski, Sir Max Mallowan's excavations at Tell Arbid in 1936, Iraq, 2007, vol. 69, pp. 73-115
  4. ^ Bertille Lyonnet, La prospection archéologique de la partie occidentale du Haut-Khabur (Syrie du nord-est) : Méthodes, résultats et questions autour de l´occupation aux IIIe et Iie millénaires av. n. E. In : Durand, J.M. (Ed.) Mari et les hourites. Amurru 1. ERC, Paris, 1998
  5. ^ Piotr Bielinski, Preliminary Report on the First Season of Syro-Polish Excavations on Tell Arbid, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 8, pp. 203-211, 1996
  6. ^ Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: The fourth season, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 11, pp. 273-284, 1999
  7. ^ [1] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid : The ninth season of Syrian-Polish excavations. Preliminary report, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 16, pp. 475-489, 2004
  8. ^ [2] Piotr Bielinski, Report on the Syrian-Polish Explorations in 2005. The Tenth Season, PAM XVII, Reports 2005, pp. 451-471, 2007
  9. ^ [3] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid. Preliminary Report on the Eleventh Season of Polish-Syrian Explorations, PAM XVIII, Reports 2006, pp. 549-561, 2008
  10. ^ [4] A first preliminary Report of the Excavation Project of the "Institut für Orientalistik der Universität Wien" and Archaeos at Tell Arbid, Syria, Sector D

See also[edit]


  • Come, Tell Me How You Live, Agatha Christie, Akadine Press, 2002, ISBN 1-58579-010-9
  • Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: Preliminary report 1998, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 10, pp. 205–216, 1998
  • [5] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: The 2003 campaign of Polish-Syrian excavations preliminary report, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 15, pp. 335–353, 2003
  • [6] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: Interim report of the fifth season, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 12, pp. 315–326, 2000
  • [7] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: The sixth campaign of excavations preliminary report, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 13, pp. 279–294, 2001
  • [8] Piotr Bielinski, Tell Arbid: The seventh season of excavations: Preliminary report, Polish archaeology in the Mediterranean, vol. 14, pp. 301–314, 2002
  • [9] A. Soltysiak, Short Fieldwork Report. Tell Arbid (Syria), Seasons 1996-2002, Studies in Historical Anthropology, vol. 3, pp. 135–136, 2006

External links[edit]