Field Report

From Urban Origins to Imperial Integration in Western Syria: Umm el-Marra 2006, 2008

Middle Bronze figurine from Acropolis South deposit.
Middle Bronze figurine from Acropolis South deposit.

The Umm el-Marra Project is investigating the genesis and early history of societal complexity at a “second-tier” center of western Syria, focusing on the Early, Middle, and Late Bronze Age occupations. In 2006 and 2008, important results were achieved for all three periods. Excavation of the Early Bronze Age elite mortuary complex on the acropolis supplies new data supporting the interpretation that the complex served to inscribe elite ideologies on the landscape in its invocation of social memory and ancestral figures. Evidence of a hiatus of several centuries after the Early Bronze occupation provides new information on the urban “collapse” of the era. Monumental and defensive architecture and the remains of ritual behavior reveal the character of urban regeneration in the period of Amorite dynasties in the Middle Bronze Age. Finally, the Late Bronze Age Mittani occupation furnishes data on the site’s incorporation into a large international empire.

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DOI: 10.3764/aja.116.1.0157