What were the cities of the Bronze Age ?
This site aims to find the names of cities excavated by archaeologists, relying mainly on ancient texts. Conversely, it aims to geographically position the cities and countries of the oldest writings.
During the 3rd millennium BC, an inscription of Gudea, the statue of Ur III BV 54-59, mentions valuable trees from "Urshu of the plateau of Ebla." That mean that Urshu was not far to the famous city of Ebla. The Tell Touqan, located 15 km from Tell Mardikh fits that description.
Ursum appears in the archives of Ebla. Treaties of alliance existed between the two towns.
In the archives of Assyrian merchants of Kanes, Ursu appears to be on a path to go south from Assyria to Kanes, passing first by Mamma (Mammagira in Mari archives) and Unipsum. Because of this, some researchers have positionned Ursu on the Euphrates, north of Carchemish, considering a path shorter. But a route passing further south is also possible, especially for contourning the Taurus Mountains and taking a sea route.
During the 18th century BC, the Mari archives evoke the city of Ursu or Ursum. It often appears with Hassum, Carchemish and Yamhad. A text related of an escort for a ship carrying wine from Ursu up to Carchemish has made some historians conclude that the town was located on the basin of the Euphrates. I am convinced that there was - during the antiquity to Ebla, and to Ursu after – services of ground transportation of boats and their goods between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates: the escort of the text is this type of service.
Hittite archives have taught us that the city of Warsuwa, which is the Hurrian writing of Ursu, was not far from Hassu. They are mentioned together twice:
In the "stories" of the Old Empire, an officer called Sanda, who was present at the siege of Ursu had been declared incompetent during an incursion of Hurrians. He was accused in particular of not having built heavy equipment from the wood of the mountain Hassu;
The Hattusili annals indicate that he had destroyed Alalakh, Hassu and Warsuwa to the 16th century BC.
Curiously, in the “treaty of Ismerik" Urussa appears to be a city of Kizzuwatna, such as Wassukanna. This suggests to some researchers that Kizzuwatna was extended to the Euphrates for an indefinite period and probably prior to Mitanni.
And during the 15th century, the town, or rather the village, is presumably called Uris or Uriess in Alalakh tablets.
Perhaps it is the city of Yursa mentioned in the annals of Thutmose III and the EA314, EA315 and EA316 Amarna letters.
Some researchers identify Gaziantep with Ursu, on the base of II 131 of Mari archives.
In 1978, under the direction of P. Matthiae, surveys were undertaken on the Tell Touqan by a Italian mission: they show that this was a well fortified city with three access doors. Its importance peaked from 2 400 to 1 600 BC. The city would have thrived following the disappearance of Ebla before a destruction around the 16th century BC.