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The Tell Chuera is located in Syria near the Turkish border. The site has an area of ​​80 ha. It has been excavated since 1958 by teams of German archaeologists. Human occupation is important during the 4th and the 3rd millennia BC and less during the second millennium. But 60 tablets were found in this last layer. The translations show a correspondence between several high-ranking figures who mainly mention the cities of Harbe, Sahlala and Assukanni. The most abundant documentation is that of Sitiu resident (temporary?) of the town of Harbe. It concerns the management of the displacements of individuals and populations on a major axis of traffic including Sahlala and Assukanni. These archives have been compared with those of the Sheikh Hamad: names of people are common, including Assur-iddin governor of Dūr-Katlimmu, king of Hanigalbat. One of the correspondents, Sin-Mudammeq, resided most often in Assukani, the ancient capital of Hanigalbat.

Towards the beginning of the second millennium, the Mari archives reveal several towns called Harbu. One in the Yamutbal and another close to Yabliya in dependence of Eshnunna. Jean-Marie Durand, in "the epistolary documents of the palace of Mari" specifies that this toponym meant "ruin". It is therefore probable that the Harbu / Harbe of the beginning of the second millennium were different from that of the end of the same millennium. And also, it is likely that the Tell Chuera had another name before.

The translated texts show that most administrative acts of the tablets tooke place in Harbe, which confirms the name of the Tell Chuera. The German discoverers have positioned Sahlala at Tell Sahlan (no excavations confirm this rapprochement) and Assukanni at Tell Fakariya, notably on the basis of the text TCH92.G.151 where it is possible to understand that the Harbe / Sahlala and Harbe / Assukanni were realized in a day's travel.

But how far could one go in a day at that time? The testimony of Herodotus, 7 century later, shows an average of 350 km per day between Suze and Sardes. (See here).


Other assumptions are possible. Based in particular on the fact that the king of Egypt appears there and that the other places and peoples evoked are distant: Emar, Sidon, On, the Kassites, the inhabitants of Elam, Amurru, Assyria and the Hatti;

  • Sahlala can be Zallul, certified on the banks of the Euphrates in the archives of Mari, or a port of the Mediterranean;

  • Assukanni may be the capital called otherwise Wassukanna (at the time of the Kizzuwatna) and at the same time Wahsusana of the merchants of Kanesh that I located on the island of Cyprus.

An analysis of the origin of the clay of the tablets would remove these doubts.



My notes of veracity :

The Tell Chuera was called Harbu, Harbe or Hurbe at the end of the Bronze Age: 3/5

Tag(s) : #Region: Mesopotamia, #Middle Assyrian empire, #Kingdom : Hanigalbat, #Kingdom: Mitanni

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