2017 Grant Recipient
Tell Umm el-Marra, Syria, Early Bronze Age Results: Final Excavation Report
(PROJECT FUNDING GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY THE GETTY FOUNDATION)
Excavations at Umm el-Marra (ancient Tuba?) in the Jabbul plain east of Aleppo (36° 08' North, 37°41' East), conducted by the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Amsterdam 1994-2010, have provided important information on the flourishing urban civilization of Early Bronze Age (ca. 3000-2000 BC) western Syria. A complex of ten monumental elite tombs on the site acropolis, together with the sacrificial installations of buried equids and human infants, supplies a unique and sizeable set of data on elite ideologies and elite mortuary rituals, including ancestor veneration and animal sacrifice. The publication of the third-millennium BC results from Umm el-Marra will offer an important contribution to our understanding of early Syrian urban societies.
Glenn Schwartz, the lead researcher in this project, is Whiting Professor of Archaeology and Chair, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is a Near Eastern archaeologist whose research focuses on the emergence and early history of urban societies in Syria and Mesopotamia. In Schwartz’s current field project at Kurd Qaburstan (possibly ancient Qabra), in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the focus is on the study of a large 2nd millennium BC north Mesopotamian urban center. His previous field project at Tell Umm el-Marra, concentrated on the origins, collapse and regeneration of an early west Syrian urban center. Schwartz has also been concerned with the role of small rural communities in early urban and complex societies and is the co-author, together with Peter Akkermans, of The Archaeology of Syria: From Complex Hunter-Gatherers to Urban Societies, ca. 16,000-300 BC (Cambridge 2003).