OVERVIEW / SITE / Excavations / 037b.htm
G. Buccellati, 2003

The temple

The structure
The temple's lion
The lion of Tish-atal


     Our first excavations yielded the remains of a large structure which could readily be interpreted as a temple. We have assigned it the label "Temple BA."
     Even though it is at the very top of the tell and very near the modern surface, it dates back to about 2400 B.C. or slightly later. Only the lowest courses of the walls and the floor surfaces were still extant.
     Because of its high elevation, we knew that the temple had to be built atop some sort of artificial support - which we know now to have been a large terrace, built of stones and mudbrick.


     The temple is a single room structure, accessed from the long side. A large monolithic altar stood in the center of the room.
     Engineering calculations (performed by G. Pesce, to whom we owe the reconstruction below) suggest that it had a pitched roof.

The temple's lion

     In the debris resulting from the destruction of the Early Dynastic temple we found this statue (click on the image to see it enlarged). It is badly damaged, but it gives us a good glimpse of the high quality of its workmanship.
     Also interesting is the style, which renders in a naturalistic way the posture and the general apeparance of the lion.

The lion of Tish-atal

     A famous bronze statue (sold on the antiquities market long before our excavations and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) records the building of a temple in urkesh by king Tish-atal. We think it possible that this is the foundation deposit for the temple that we have excavated.
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