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Dominik Bonatz

Recently discovered Middle Assyrian cuneiform tablets from Tell Fekheriye!

The excavations in 2009 yielded new important text finds from the Middle Assyrian period. Twelve cuneiform tablets were excavated in a fill under the oldest floor of the Middle Assyrian House 1. Due to this stratigraphic context the texts date earlier than House 1 which was in use during the reign of Tukulti-Ninurta I (1233-1197 BC).

The unfired tablets are in a fragmentary state of preservation but of remarkable size, the biggest one measuring 18 by 27cm. So far, only three of them have been restored during the last week of the previous excavation campaign. However, a very preliminary reading from the photographic documentation already leads to some very interesting results.

The texts document the distribution of a huge amount of grain to family households. The metrological system applied to this ration list is typical for the reign of Shalmaneser I (1263-1234 BC). The individuals listed bear mostly Assyrian names but also Hurrian names and some names of so far unknown ethnolinguistic affiliation are attested. Remarkable are Assyrian names with a distinct local patronymic. These show that people of Assyrian origin were living for more than one generation in Tell Fekheriye or its close vicinity. The texts thus confront us with a situation that brings us to the very beginning of the Middle Assyrian occupation in Habur headwater region. They mirror the activities of a regional administration which might have been then established early under Assyrian control.