Biblical Archaeology Review 41:5, September/October 2015

Strata: New Dig Reports: State Formation in Ancient Syria

Although archaeological excavations have been currently suspended in Syria, we highlight here a volume that analyzes one of the most significant ancient sites in Syria: Ebla. With impressive archaeological remains and archives, Ebla provides a window to some of the glories of Syria’s past.

Ebla and Its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East

Edited by Paolo Matthiae and Nicolò Marchetti (Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, Inc., 2013), 563 pp., $129 (hardcover)

Located in northwestern Syria, the site of Ebla (Tell Mardikh) is perhaps best known for its vast archive of cuneiform tablets, dating to the mid-third millennium B.C.—Ebla’s heyday—during the Early Bronze Age. These tablets give us insight into daily life, economics, religion and politics in the ancient city-state of Ebla. Written before the time to which Abraham is often assigned, the tablets also provide interesting background material for understanding the world of the patriarchs.

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