Coordinates: 36°44′21″N 41°7′38″E / 36.73917°N 41.12722°E / 36.73917; 41.12722

Tell Barri 1

View of Tell Barri from the west

Tell Barri is an ancient site in north-eastern Syria. In ancient times it may have been called Kahat, though this identification is disputed. Tell Barri is situated by the river Jaghjagh, a tributary of the Habur river.

Early history of Tell Barri

The earliest culture discovered at Tell Barri belonged to the Halaf culture. Barri was situated in the fertile crescent and could benefit from winter rains as well as the river water. This developed the early agriculture of the area. The site of Tell Barri was inhabited since the fourth millennium BC. By the middle of the third millennium BC Barri came under Akkadian cultural influence. The main cultural centre at Tell Brak was only a short distance away.

The ancient city of Kahat

By the eighteenth century BC the city known as Kahat is attested from the palace archives of Mari. Kahat seems to have been ruled by semi-independent kings. The town then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia whose capital, Shubat-Enlil, was located east of Kahat. When the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia collapsed, the harem of its king (Shamshi-Addu) sought refuge at Kahat. Several centuries later, the town emerged as a religious centre when the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni established itself in the region by the fifteenth century BC. The temple to the Storm god Teshub in Kahat is specifically mentioned in the Shattiwaza treaty of the fourteenth century BC. Shortly afterwards the town fell into the hands of the Assyrians. In the Neo-Assyrian period a palace was built by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta II (891-884 BC) in Kahat. The town lived on after the end of the Assyrian empire in the seventh century BC. Babylonians, Persians, Seleucids, Romans, and Parthians left their trace. The site was inhabited into the Arab period.


Tell Barri 2

View of an excavation area at Tell Barri. Note the person standing in the middle for scale.

In 1980 excavations began by a team of Italian archaeologists led by Paolo Emilio Pecorella and Mirjo Salvini. The height of town mound is 32 meters, or 100 feet, and its size 37 hectares, nearly 100 acres. The town was walled in the second millennium BC, with an acropolis at its centre. Tombs were also found at the site. Many ceramics were discovered which have helped the archaeologists determine the different strata of occupation of the mound. Artefacts from Tell Barri have been taken to the museum of Aleppo. The site is now under the direction of Raffaella Pierobon-Benoit of University of Naples "Federico II".

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