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Artifacts from Hamoukar

Feb. 16, 2007

New details in the tragic end of one of the world’s earliest cities as well as clues about how urban life may have begun there were revealed in a recent excavation in northeastern Syria that was conducted by the University of Chicago and the Syrian Department of Antiquities.

“The attack must have been swift and intense. Buildings collapsed, burning out of control, burying everything in them under vast pile of rubble,” said Clemens Reichel, the American co-director of the Syrian-American Archaeological Expedition to Hamoukar. Reichel, a Research Associate at the University’s Oriental Institute, added that the assault probably left the residents destitute as they buried their dead in the ruins of the city.

Reichel made that assessment of the battle that destroyed Hamoukar about 3500 B.C. after an excavation was conducted in September and October at the site near the Iraqi border. The team uncovered further evidence of the accomplishments of the inhabitants among the remains of the walled city dating to the fourth millennium B.C. READ MORE

Click the images below to obtain a high-resolution/print photograph for download.

   Seal, bone, in shape of reclining animal, probably sheep; seal design shows tweo stylized horned goats; from Area B, date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Clay sealing with impression of large, abstract seal; from Area B, date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Arrowhead, obsidian, from Area B; date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Remains of body, possibly war casualty, found in a burial pit dug into ruins of destroyed buildings in Area B; date: 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Remains of body found in burial pit dug into ruins of destroyed buildings in Area B, found in association with sling bullet (visible on right side) date: 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Clay sealing with impression of seal depicting two dancers; from Area B, date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Clemens Reichel (American co-director, left) and Salam al-Kuntar (Syrian co-director, right)

 

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   Area B overview over Late Chalcolithic architecture destroyed by warfare; date: ca. 3,500 B.C. (composite photo)

 

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   Three beads, perforated, made of obsidian; from Southern Extension; date: ca. 4,200 B.C.

 

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   Three views of obsidian core; grooves indicate zones of blade-napping; from Southern Extension; date: ca. 4,200 B.C.

 

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   Area B: recycling pit for clay in floor of room, containing sealing clay as well as several sling bullets; date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Area B: close-up of sling bullets found in recycling pit; date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Sample of three sling bullets, clay, found in collapse of burnt buildngs in Area B; date: ca. 3,500 B.C.

 

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   Stamp seal, black stone, showing seal scene with two dancers holding hands. Right side shows modern impression. From Southern Extension; date: ca. 4,200 B.C.

 

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Last modified at 10:10 PM CST on Monday, April 14, 2008

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