Research - Sector M | Archaeological Expedition to Tell Arbid

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View on sector from east

Sector M is located at the foot of the main tell, on the western slope. One of the aims of excavating in this area was to find a defense system of the site the presence of which was suggested in a report by sir Max Mallowan. In a report, he mentioned that he had found on Tell Arbid a city wall that might have been up to 45 m wide. Another aim was to prevent further damage of the thell by a modern cemetery located in this area and expanding towards the centre of the tell.

Khabur Ware Period

Round structure paved with mud bricks

At least two architectural strata dated to the first half of the IInd millennium BC were unearthed in sector M. Both were connected with household activities. A fragment of a mud brick building comprised of two rooms, about 2 x 1 m each, was found there. The small dimensions of the rooms suggest that they were not intended for habitation but rather were used for storage. Most probably a sizable, round structure (diam. approx. 2.5 m) paved with mud bricks was also of a similar character. There is no parallel for the latter finding in MBA layers on Arbid.

Another interesting discovery in this sector is a chamber tomb of a MBA II date. It was dug in Khabur ware period layers. Although its barrel vault had collapsed in antiquity, the tomb was well preserved. It contained a skeleton of a young girl and mixed bones of two younger children deposited in the south-eastern corner, behind the head of the girl. It seems probable that all the deceased were related, although it would be hard to believe that a 15 years old girl was a mother to a 6 year old child. The girl received five painted Khabur ware vessels as grave equipment, while the children were accompanied by three miniature jars.

Khabur ware vessels from a chamber tomb Khabur ware chamber tomb

Ninevite 5 Period

The IIIrd millennium BC city wall mentioned by Mallowan has not been found so far. A huge mud brick wall discovered in this sector was suspected of being a part of this presumed fortification system, but finally it proved to belong to a domestic structure. The 3 m wide construction was parallel to the contour of the slope. It had a casemate-like room, formed by two parallel walls joined at right angles. The space between them was closed from the east by a less substantial wall. The room was paved with potsherds and was used for some kind of industrial activities, as suggested by a variety of installations: a fireplace, a small tannur, some small pits and a storage jar. Actually, it was similar to domestic structures known from sector D. The idea of a massive city wall encircling the site must be therefore rejected. The ceramic material collected from the structure's vicinity is undoubtedly of a Ninevite 5 period date.

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