Terqa is the name of an ancient city discovered at the site of Tell Ashara on the banks of the middle Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 in Deir ez-Zor Governorate
Deir ez-Zor Governorate
Deir ez-Zor Governorate or Muhafazah Dayr az Zawr is one of the fourteen governorates of Syria. It is situated in eastern Syria, bordering Iraq. It has an area of 33,060 km² and a population of 1,202,000...

, Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, approximately 80 km from the modern border with Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Its name had become Sirqu by Neo-Assyrian times.


Little is yet known of the early history of Terqa, though it was a sizable entity even in the
Early Dynastic period.

In the 2nd millennium BC it was under the control of Shamshi-Adad
Shamshi-Adad I
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad I (fl. late 18th century BC (short chronology) was an Assyrian king. He rose to prominence when he carved out an empire encompassing much of Mesopotamia, Syria and Asia Minor...

, followed by Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

 in the time of Zimri-Lim, and then by Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 after Mari's defeat by Hamurabi
Hamurabi is a text-based game of land and resource management and is one of the earliest computer games. Its name is a shortening of Hammurabi, reduced to fit an eight-character limit.-History:...

 of the First Babylonian Dynasty
First Babylonian Dynasty
The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A and a Babylonian King List B. In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage...

, Terqa became the leading city of the Khana/Hana kingdom after the decline of Babylon. Later, it fell into the sphere of the Kassite dynasty of Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 and eventually the Neo-Assyrian Empire. A noted stele of Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta II
Tukulti-Ninurta II
Tukulti-Ninurta II was King of Assyria from 891 BC to 884 BC. He was the second king of the Neo Assyrian Empire.-Family:His father was Adad-nirari II, the second king of the Neo-Assyrian period. His son succeeded him and was named Ashurnasirpal II...

 was found at Terqa.
The principal god of Terqa was Dagan
Dagon was originally an Assyro-Babylonian fertility god who evolved into a major northwest Semitic god, reportedly of grain and fish and/or fishing...


Proposed Rulers of Terqa
Ruler Proposed reign Notes
Yapah-Sumu circa 1700
Yadikh-Abu Contemporary of Samsu-iluna
Samsu-iluna was the seventh king of the founding Amorite dynasty of Babylon, ruling from 1750 BC to 1712 BC middle chronology. He was the son and successor of Hammurabi by an unknown mother...

 of Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, 7 year names known
Kastiliyasu 4 year names known
Sunuhru-Ammu 4 year names known
Ammi-Madar 1 year name known
Isar-Lim 1 year name known
Iish-Dagan 1 year name known
Hammurapih 3 year names known
Parshatatar Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...



The main site is around 20 acres (8.1 ha) in size and has a height of 60 feet (18.3 m). The remains
of Terqa are partly covered by the modern town of Ashara, which limits the
possibilities for excavation.

The site was briefly excavated by E. Herzfeld in 1910.

In 1923, 5 days of excavations were conducted by François Thureau-Dangin and
P. Dhorrne.
From 1974 to 1986, Terqa was excavated for 10 seasons by a team from the
International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies including the
Institute of Archaeology at the University of California at Los Angeles, California State University at Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

, the University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

 and the University of Poitiers
University of Poitiers
The University of Poitiers is a university in Poitiers, France. It is a member of the Coimbra Group.-History:Founded in 1431 by Pope Eugene IV and chartered by King Charles VII, the University of Poitiers was originally composed of five faculties: theology, canon law, civil law, medicine, and...

 in France. The team was
led by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati.
After 1987, a French team led by Olivier Rouault of Lyon University
took over the dig and continues to work there to the present time.
There are 550 cuneiform tablets from Terqa held at the Deir ez-Zor Museum.

Notable features found at Terqa include
  • A city wall consisting of three concentric masonry walls, 20 feet (6.1 m) high and 60 feet (18.3 m) in width, fronted by a 60 feet (18.3 m) moat. The walls encompass a total area of around 60 acres (24.3 ha), were built circa 3000 BC and were in use until at least 2000 BC.

  • A temple to Ninkarrak
    Nintinugga was a Babylonian goddess of healing, the consort of Ninurta. She is identical with another goddess, known as Bau, though it would seem that the two were originally independent....

    dating at least as old as the 3rd millennium. The temple finds included Egyptian scarabs.

  • The House of Puzurum, where a large and important archive of tablets were found.

External links

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