Studies on the Archaeology of Ebla 1980-2010
The archaeological exploration of Tell Mardikh started in 1964 and, since the first campaigns, some of the most influential archaeologists of the time considered it one of the most promising excavations in the Levant. In 1968, the discovery of a basalt bust bearing the dedicatory inscription of Ibbit-Lim, king of Ebla, allowed to propose that the large archaeological site was ancient Ebla, usually located North of Aleppo, and not to the South. In 1975, the spectacular, and revolutionary discovery of the Royal Archives of 2350-2300 BC took place. After 1975, the Ebla Expedition was engaged in the systematic exploration of large areas of the Lower Town, with the discovery of the great residential palaces, of some temples, of the fortified buildings on the earthwork ramparts, of some quarters of private houses, and of the city gates of the great Old Syrian town. The publication of the Archives and of the archaeological discoveries led Ignace J. Gelb, the late dean of the Oriental Institute of Chicago, to say that the Italians had discovered at Ebla a new history, a new language, a new culture. Paolo Matthiae, the Director of the Ebla Expedition, published, since the beginning of the research, many studies about aspects of material culture, artistic productions, architectural, and urban structures, chronological and historic matters. These studies appeared in Italian, in international scientific journals as well as in miscellaneous volumes, and are therefore scattered and sometimes not easy to access. Forty-two of these contributions of particular value for an evaluation of Ebla discoveries, published between 1980 and 2010, and all in English language, are now collected in the volume edited by Francis Pinnock.
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