Archaeological research at the Tell Hariri-Mari site began in 1933. Since then, 44 excavation campaigns have provided material for studying one of the great capitals of Sumer and the Akkadian Empire. Exceptional archaeological and philological discoveries have made Mari, on the current border between Syria and Iraq, one of the most prolific sites in this field of research.
Those riches are far from being exhausted, since only 8% of the surface area of the site has been explored. It is an ideal location for studying the development of urbanisation in Syria and the type of contacts that existed between the Syrian and Sumero-Akkadian worlds.
Eye-witness accounts and satellite photos show that the conflict has caused considerable damage. The destruction has also affected human lives. With a view to reconstruction, since 2011 the Mari mission currently headed by Pascal Butterlin has been systematically publishing work and drawing attention to the site through a number of exhibitions and seminars, programmes to digitise the archives of older and more recent excavations, and 3D restitutions of the remains, including the Royal Palace.
Research is also ongoing around the Massif Rouge, a monumental terrace erected in the early days of the second city on the Mari site, around 2550 BCE. Data from the most recent campaigns contribute to a better understanding of the stages of construction and help with dating.
Updated: december 2016
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