D[u.bar]r-Katlimmu 2008 and Beyond. Edited by HARTMUT KUHNE. Studia Chaburensia, vol. 1. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2010. Pp. xi + 265, illus. [euro] 54.
In celebration of thirty years of most successful excavation at the site of Tell Sheikh Hamad/DurKatlimmu in northeastern Syria, the archaeological team held a conference on "Rural Assyria (1350-500 BC)" at the dig house in October 2008. The present volume, which also inaugurates a new series, Studia Chaburensia, presents sixteen papers either delivered at the meeting or concerned with the same general topic. For the complete contents, follow this link: http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.dzoartike1/201/003/3776_201.pdf?t=1272018252.
A perusal of the contents demonstrates just how much our knowledge of the ancient history of the lower Habur drainage has expanded over the past two decades, thanks not only to the various excavations in the region (Tell Sheikh Hamad, Tell Taban/T[a.bar]b[e.bar]tu. Tell Masaikh/Kar-Assurnasirpal, etc.), but also to the intensive study of the texts from Tell Hariri by members of the Mari equipe.
I touch briefly on some highlights of the book: Dominique Charpin ("An Old Babylonian Itinerary along the Habur") publishes a Mari letter shedding much light on the geography of the western Habur triangle in the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. Jean-Marie Durand ("D[u.bar]r Katlim(m)u / S[e.bar]h-Hamad, How and Why?"; despite title, text in French) concludes that since D[u.bar]r-Igid-Lim, the earlier form of D[u.bar]r-Katlimmu, does not appear in the Mari corpus, the town must have been founded only under the later kingdom of Hana, and came gradually to surpass the Mari-period district center of Qattun[a.bar]n in importance.
Mario Fales ("Production and Consumption at D[u.bar]r-Katlimmu: A Survey of the Evidence") integrates the archaeological and archaeometric data retrieved by the team for the vicinity of Tell Sheikh Hamad with the contents of the texts, stressing the marginal position of the site for dry fanning, but positing that its situation between two wadis assures a higher water table and hence greater fertility than that prevalent in the surrounding area. Particularly striking is the observation that barley yields documented in the thirteenth-century tablets from D[u.bar]r-Katlimmu are higher than those achieved in recent years in the...