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In Syria, near the Turkish border, the Tell Chuera has been the object of excavations since 1958 by German teams who found about 60 cuneiform tablets. Their translations show a correspondence between several high-ranking persons from the cities of Harbe, Sahlala and Assukanni. The Tell Chuera was quickly identified as Harbe. And these archaeologists are in favor of positioning Sahlala at Tell Sahlan, west of Tell Chuera, just north of the Balih Valley. Especially since one of the tablets found on the Tell Sabi Abyad, a few kilometers south of Tell Sahlan, also evokes a city called Sahlalu.

But this location is not accepted by all, especially because the Tell Sahlan has not been excavated.


Mari's archives show an abundance of close names, Zalluhan, Zallul, Zihlalum, Zihlan, Zulluhan ... making the analysis more complex. The meaning of the texts makes it possible to retain:

  • On the one hand, Zilhan and Zalluhan, which are not far from Urkish. These two denominations appear in the same tablet A.2567 and, to complicate the problem, seem to designate two different cities. On the basis of other texts, Jean-Marie Durand positions Zalluhan in the Idamaras and Zilhan to the north of Qattunan;

  • On the other hand Zihlalum. X178 evokes a raid of La.rim-Namahâ of Aparhâ on the city of Zihlalum. After having collected troops on the banks of the Euphrates, a mariot army has departed, and hastened to the town of Ahuna. V21 reports that the prince of Aparhâ, La.rim-Namahâ, was defeated. Sûmu-Špuh, king of Yamhad, demanded his execution. Then, a thousand years later, Bel-lu-balat, an Assyrian governor, declares himself to have been the "Saknu" of the towns of Tabetu, Harran, Huzirina, Der, Qipanu, Zilalu and Balihu. This clearly shows the existence of a city of name Zihlalum or Zilalu towards the region of Harran.


But a town was also spelled Zallul or Bit-Zallal during the Neo-Assyrian Empire, was located towards the banks of the Euphrates (see here). It is rather this positioning that I would prefer to the Sahlala toponym of the texts of Tell Chuera, whereas Zilhan seems to me rather to be the mariotic denomination of the Tell Sahlan, because of phonetics, understanding of texts, but mainly because Zilhan is mentioned in the tablets of Tabatum and was positioned west of the Habur by the excavators of Tell Taban.

Sahlala hypothesis

Sahlala hypothesis




My notes of veracity :

The Tell Sahlan was Sahlala: 2.5 / 5

The Tell Sahlan was Zilhan: 3/5

Tag(s) : #Middle Assyrian Empire, #Kingdom:Mari, #Kingdom:Mitanni, #Neo Assyrian Empire

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