Tell Barri

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Tell Barri
Tell Barri 1.jpg
View of Tell Barri from the west
Tell Barri is located in Syria
Tell Barri
Shown within Syria
Alternative nameKahat
LocationAl-Hasakah Governorate, Syria
Coordinates36°44′21″N 41°07′38″E / 36.73917°N 41.12722°E / 36.73917; 41.12722Coordinates: 36°44′21″N 41°07′38″E / 36.73917°N 41.12722°E / 36.73917; 41.12722
Area37 ha (91 acres)
Height32 m (105 ft)
Site notes
ArchaeologistsPaolo Emilio Pecorella, Mirjo Salvini, Raffaella Pierobon-Benoit

Tell Barri (ancient Kahat) is a tell, or archaeological settlement mound, in north-eastern Syria in the Al-Hasakah Governorate. Its ancient name was Kahat as proven by a threshold found on the south-western slope of the mound.[1] Tell Barri is situated along the Wadi Jaghjagh, a tributary of the Khabur River. It lies 22 kilometers away from the site Tell Arbid.


The earliest layers discovered at Tell Barri date to the Halaf period. Barri was in the fertile crescent and could benefit from winter rains as well as the river water. This developed the early agriculture of the area. The site of Tell Barri was inhabited since the fourth millennium BC. By the middle of the third millennium BC Barri came under Akkadian cultural influence. The large urban centre at Tell Brak was nearby.

Ancient city of Kahat[edit]

Stele of Shar-pati-beli, governor of Assur, Naṣibina, Urakka, Kahat, and Masaka. 831 BCE. From Assur, Iraq. Pergamon Museum

By the eighteenth century BC the city known as Kahat is attested from the palace archives of Mari. Kahat seems to have been ruled by semi-independent kings. The town then came under the rule of the Old Assyrian Empire, whose capital, Shubat-Enlil, was northeast of Kahat. When the empire collapsed, the harem of its king Shamshi-Adad I sought refuge at Kahat. Several centuries later, the town emerged as a religious centre when the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni established itself in the region by the fifteenth century BC. The temple to the Storm god Teshub in Kahat is specifically mentioned in the Shattiwaza treaty of the fourteenth century BC. Shortly afterwards the town fell into the hands of the Middle Assyrian Empire. In the Neo-Assyrian Empire period a palace was built by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta II (891-884 BC) in Kahat. The town lived on after the end of the Assyrian empire in the seventh century BC as a part of Achaemenid Assyria. Babylonians, Persians, Seleucids, Romans, and Parthians left their trace. The site was inhabited into the Arab period.


View of an excavation area at Tell Barri. Note the person standing in the middle for scale.

The height of the town mound is 32 meters (105 feet), and its base covers 37 hectares (90 acres).

In 1980 excavations were begun by a team of Italian archaeologists from the University of Florence, led by Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Mirjo Salvini.[2][3] Since 2006, the dig was conducted by a team from University of Naples Federico II led by Raffaella Pierobon-Benoit.[4]

The town was walled in the second millennium BC, with an acropolis at its centre. Tombs were found at the site. Many ceramics were discovered, which have helped the archaeologists to determine the different strata of occupation of the mound. Artifacts from Tell Barri, including cuneiform tablets, have been taken to the museum of Aleppo.

Significant discoveries include a sacred complex in Area G (third millennium BC), the remains of the royal palace of Tukulti-Ninurta II (Neo-Assyrian period), and the Great Circuit Wall that surrounds the tell and dates to the Parthian period. Scant traces of Roman occupation have been found in many areas of the site. Recently, Islamic occupation (houses' quarter) has been attested on the northern slope of the mound.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Georges Dossin, Le Site de la ville de Kahat", Annales Archéologiques de Syrie, vol. 11/12, pp. 197-207, 1961-62
  2. ^ P.E. Pecorella, Tell Barri / Kahat 1. Relazione sulle campagne 1980–1991 a Tell Barri / Kahat, nel bacino de Habur, Universita degli studi di Firenze, 1982
  3. ^ P.E. Pecorella, Tell Barri / Kahat 2. Relazione sulle campagne 1980–1993 a Tell Barri / Kahat, nel bacino de Habur (Siria), Universita degli studi di Firenze, 1998, ISBN 88-87345-02-3
  4. ^ Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Raffaella Pierobon Benoit, Tell Barri / Kahat 3. La sequenza ceramica, Firenze University Press, in press


  • Paolo Emilio Pecorella, Tell Barri/Kahat: la campagna del 2000: relazione preliminare, Firenze University Press, 2003, ISBN 88-8453-097-0
  • Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Raffaella Pierobon Benoit, Tell Barri/Kahat: la campagna del 2001: relazione preliminare, Firenze University Press, 2004, ISBN 88-8453-139-X
  • Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Raffaella Pierobon Benoit, Tell Barri/Kahat: la campagna del 2002: relazione preliminare, Firenze, 2005, ISBN 88-8453-292-2
  • Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Raffaella Pierobon Benoit, Tell Barri/Kahat: la campagna del 2003: relazione preliminare, Firenze University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-88-8453-793-5
  • Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Raffaella Pierobon Benoit, Tell Barri - Kahat: la campagna del 2004, Firenze University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-88-8453-776-8
  • A. Sołtysiak, Short Fieldwork Report: Tell Barri (Syria), seasons 1980–2006, Bioarchaeology of the Near East, vol. 2, pp. 67–71, 2008

External links[edit]