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MISHRIFEH DURING THE EARLY BRONZE AGE


Mishrifeh was founded  around 2700/2600 BC during the Early Bronze Age III on a limestone plateau. The first occupation of the site is distinguished by the presence of dwellings equipped with storage and other domestic installations such as fireplaces.

 

In the following Early Bronze Age IV (c. 2400-2000 BC), the site and its territory were included in the wave of intensive urbanization which occurred in the whole region during the mid-third millennium BC. The fully-fledged adoption of urban life and its associated institutions is mirrored in the archaeological evidence brought to light at Mishrifeh and its region by excavations and survey. This includes:
- a vast dwelling quarter located in the northern part of the acropolis plateau overlooking the lower city (Operations G-H);
-  a rich shaft grave on the western flank of the central mound of the acropolis (Operation C) with forty skeletons, over hundred copper/bronze weapons and exotic ornaments (faience or Egyptian Blue and carnelian beads) and 292 pottery vessels. The grave typology and the ostentatious funerary goods indicate the high social status of the buried dead;
- an intensive and long-term cereal storage area on the summit of the acropolis presumably controlled by a central institution (Operation J);
- the dense occupation of the region surrounding Mishrifeh and the development for the first time of a structured settlement system. A total of 17 small-sized sites appear during this period. The sudden rise of a hierarchic settlement system around Mishrifeh may have been closely connected with the first emergence at the site of a medium-sized urban centre which was possibly also the seat of a central institution.

The medium-sized mid to late-third-millennium town of Mishrifeh occupied the whole area of the limestone plateau of the acropolis (c. 25 ha), was circular in plan and bears close resemblance to other contemporary urban sites in Western Syria, such as ar-Rawda in the steppe to the northeast of Mishrifeh, Sha’ayrat to the south and Ebla to the north.

 




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