Tell el-'Oueili

Coordinates: 31°14′35″N 45°53′06″E / 31.243°N 45.885°E / 31.243; 45.885
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Tell el-'Oueili
Tell el-'Oueili is located in Iraq
Tell el-'Oueili
Shown within Iraq
RegionDhi Qar Governorate
Coordinates31°14′35″N 45°53′06″E / 31.243°N 45.885°E / 31.243; 45.885
Length200 metres (660 ft)
Height5 metres (16 ft)
Founded6500-5400 BCE
Abandonedbefore 3000 BCE
Site notes
Excavation dates1976, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989
ArchaeologistsA. Parrot. J.-L. Huot

Tell el-'Oueili (also Awayli) is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located in Dhi Qar Governorate, southern Iraq. The site was excavated between 1976 and 1989 by French archaeologists under the direction of Jean-Louis Huot. The excavations have revealed occupation layers predating those of Eridu, making Tell el-'Oueili the earliest known human settlement in southern Mesopotamia.

History of research[edit]

The site was first noted and surveyed by French scholar André Parrot, who at the time was working at nearby Larsa.[1] Two small excavation seasons took place in 1976 and 1978, and regular excavations commenced in 1981.[2][3] Four more seasons took place in every uneven year until 1989.[4][5] All excavations were directed by French archaeologist Jean-Louis Huot.[6]

Tell el-'Oueili and its environment[edit]

The site measures 200 metres (660 ft) in diameter and is approximately 5 metres (16 ft) high.[1] It is located ca. 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) southeast of Larsa in Dhi Qar Governorate, southern Iraq. The environment of 'Oueili is characterized by temperatures that can reach more than 50 °C in summer and less than 250 mm of annual rainfall, making the area unsuitable for rainfed agriculture.[7]

Occupation history[edit]

Tell el-'Oueili was occupied during the Ubaid period.[8] The excavations have revealed occupation layers dating from Ubaid 0 (6500-5400 BCE) to Ubaid 4. The phase Ubaid 0 was first discovered at this site and was hence provisionally termed 'Oueili-phase.[3] A surface survey showed that the site was occupied into the Uruk Period.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Huot, J.-L. (1980), "Tell el'Oueili (Iraq): les Premiers Résultats", Paléorient (in French), 6 (1): 207–211, doi:10.3406/paleo.1980.4270
  2. ^ Huot, J.-L. et al., "Tell el-'Oueilli: The works of 1978 and 1981.", Sumer, vol. 39, no. 1-2, pp. 18-67, 1983
  3. ^ a b Huot, J.-L. (1985), "Tell el'Oueili. Principaux Résultats de la Quatrième Campagne (1983)", Paléorient (in French), 11 (1): 119–123, doi:10.3406/paleo.1985.4367
  4. ^ Forest, J.D.. "Tell el-'Oueili preliminary report on the 4th season (1983): Stratigraphy and architecture'.", Sumer, vol. 44, no. 1–2, pp. 55–66, 1985-1986
  5. ^ Breniquet, Catherine, "Tell el-'Oueili 1983: The Small Finds", Sumer, vol. 44, pp. 109-11, 1985-1986
  6. ^ Vallet, R.; Huot, J.-L. (1990), "Les Habitations à salles hypostyles d'époque Obeid 0 de Tell El'Oueili", Paléorient (in French), 16 (1): 125–130, doi:10.3406/paleo.1990.4527
  7. ^ Huot, J.-L. (1985a), "Travaux en basse Mésopotamie. Les fouilles françaises à Larsa et 'Oueili", Comptes-rendus des Séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (in French), 129 (2): 300–318, doi:10.3406/crai.1985.14270
  8. ^ Lebeau, M., "A First Report on pre-Eridu Pottery from Tell El Oueili", Sumer, vol. 44, pp. 88-108, 1985
  9. ^ J. L. Huot, "Tell el Oueili : surface exploration", Sumer, vol. 27, no. 1-2, pp. 45-58, 1971