Tell Mishrifeh - Ancient Qatna

 

Tell Mishrifeh, was occupied during the Bronze and Iron Ages. It is on the Wadi il-Aswad, a tributary of the Orontes, 18 km northeast of the modern city of Homs, Syria.

 

The site is almost perfectly square, encompassing 110 ha and enclosed by rampart fortifications preserved to an impressive height of 15 to 20 m, surrounded by a ditch. Inside the fortifications is a 70 ha lower city and two mounds: an acropolis mound in the center, and a secondary mound in the southeast.

 

The earliest occupation levels we know of at Mishrifeh are from the 3rd millennium BCE. The site reaches its height in size and political power in the Middle Bronze Age (2000 to 1600 BCE) , where the site can be identified with the urban centre of Qatna, a major Syrian kingdom and commercial centre located at the crossroads between the main trade routes crossing the region.

 

During the Late Bronze Age (c. 1600-1200 BC), Qatna was a local kingdom on the border territories between the Egyptians, the kingdom of Mitanni and the Hittites. The site was destroyed at the end of the Late Bronze Age. It was abandoned until the Iron Age II (c. 900-600 BC) where it becomes a regional administrative and political centre in the south-eastern part of the territory of the Aramaean kingdom of Hama.

 

Although the site had been visited by numerous scholars since the 19th century, excavations did not begin until 1924 and lasted four seasons. Excavations were renewed in 1994 by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums and in 1999 the joint Syrian-Italian-German Mission was created.

 

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