The grant will support the publication program of the final report on the excavations of the lower town at Tilmen Höyük, a capital city of the Middle Bronze Age located at the fringes of the North Syrian Plains (Gaziantep province, South-Eastern Turkey). The publication will cover the results of the excavations undertaken between 2003 and 2008 by the joint Turco-Italian team directed by N. Marchetti, and will include a detailed analysis of topography, stratigraphy, architecture, ceramics and finds.
The site of Tilmen Höyük lies in the Islahiye valley, which connects the lower Orontes valley to the central Taurus southern piedmont. The region belongs to the Inner Syria cultural contexts, and held a highly strategic significance, over the course of time, for the connections between Upper Mesopotamian and Levantine lowlands on the one hand the Anatolian highlands on the other. Settled since the LC period, the city attained its major flourishing during MBA 2, when it is probably to be identified with ancient Zalbar/Zalwar. Key evidence suggest that the site hosted a Babylonian trading station, which was part of a network parallel to that of Assur running from the Middle Euphrates to Cilicia. With its massively enclosed lower town and fortified acropolis, the ‘Cyclopean’ basalt blocks architecture, Tilmen Höyük is one of the most monumental cities of the area in this period.
The director of the publication project is Dr. Valentina Orsi.