Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


EBLA CHORA Result In Brief

Project ID: 249394
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Italy

Ebla relinquishes its secrets

An in-depth comparison of old and new data from the ancient site of Ebla in Syria affords an accurate picture of life in the Near East around the 3rd millennium BCE.
Ebla relinquishes its secrets
Syria is rich with ancient archaeological wonders, one of these being the settlement of Ebla dating from the 3rd millennium BCE. Over 50 years of excavations at the site have revealed a wealth of relics and even written material in the form of cuneiform tablets that tell us what life was like in the area over 4 000 years ago.

The EU-funded EBLA CHORA (The early state and its chora. Towns, villages and landscape at Ebla in Syria during the 3rd Millennium BC. Royal archives, visual and material culture, remote sensing and artificial neural networks) project investigated how the early state functioned. Delving into the 17 000 cuneiform tablets dating from 2300 and discovered in 1975, the project examined the political, military and economic affairs of the state.

The team considered excavations of two massive onsite temples in recent years, which also helped it understand how life unfolded in those times. More specifically, it analysed archaeological surveys, geomorphological studies, remote sensing maps and geophysical data using statistical, mathematical and quantitative methods. It then analysed the wealth of data from the excavations and related studies to gain in-depth understanding of how the city state functioned.

By cross-comparing older studies with more recent geomorphological and vegetation research conducted in 2010, the team incorporated as well a number of sites nearby and extrapolated urbanisation patterns. Comparing old and new vegetation cultivars, it concluded that there was long-term agricultural stability for the area, helping it to flourish. Data from over 2 000 palaeo-botanical and over 1 000 zooarchaeological samples excavated at Ebla were combined with the cuneiform texts to help construct an accurate picture of economy, trade and culture in the area.

This comprehensive, interdisciplinary study offers a much clearer picture of ancient civilisation in the Near East and can help shed light on other nearby settlements. The combined approach will no doubt help future researchers in continuing to unveil the mysteries of ancient civilisations.

Related information


Ebla, Syria, 3rd millennium BCE, archaeological, cuneiform tablets, ancient civilisation
Record Number: 183154 / Last updated on: 2016-08-03
Domain: Industrial Technologies