Tell Rad Shaqrah

Tell Rad Shakrah

Tell Rad Shaqra
Tell Rad Szakra

  • Project name:

    Hassake Dam Project

  • Site type:

    Fortified settlement and burial ground


    Syrian Jazireh
    Northern Mesopotamia


    – Late Ninevite 5 period (2750–2550 BC)
    – Early Dynastic III period (2550–2300 BC)
    – Akkadian period (2300–2150 BC)
    – Neo-Assyrian period (9th–8th century BC)

Most interesting finds:

– Defense wall built of stone and bricks with earth-and-stone glacis
– Relics of residential buildings and street grid of the Early Dynastic III period
– More than 40 graves of various types, both adults’ and children’s, some of them richly furnished
– A so-called eye idol – a low-relief with a representation of a human head

History of research:

Dates of PCMA research:


Type of research:

Salvage excavations

Project director:

Piotr Bieliński


– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw
– Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Syria

Description of site and research results:

Tell Rad Shaqrah is a low tell measuring about 100 m in diameter. During several seasons of salvage excavations nine settlement layers were uncovered. The small fortified settlement originated in the Early Dynastic II–Early Dynastic III period (middle of the 3rd millennium BC) and existed apparently without interruption until the Akkadian period when it was abandoned.

The fortifications, unusual even in bigger cities of that time, consisted of a mud-brick wall 4 m thick and a 6-m wide buttress with facing made of basalt blocks. Remains of successive mud-brick houses were excellently preserved. They were characterized by massive arched buttresses supporting the roofs. Plastered pools, probably used for household purposes, were found in many of these buildings.

Children’s burials were found under the floors of houses in the area of the town. Grave goods included mostly pottery vessels, but in some burials rich collections of jewelry, like necklaces and bracelets made of different materials, were found.

Project bibliography:

Piątkowska-Małecka, J., Koliński, R. (2015). The animal economy of people living in the settlement of Tell Rad Shaqrah (Syria). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 24(1), 675–692.

Szeląg, D. (2014). Amulets? On the possible function of zoomorphic pendants from child burials in Tell Rad Shaqrah (Syria). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 23(2), 145–160.

Szeląg, D. (2013). Shell objects from Tell Rad Shaqrah (Syria). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 22, 587–616.

Smogorzewska, A. (2010). Technological marks on pottery vessels. Evidence from Tell Arbid, Tell Rad Shaqrah and Tell Jassa el-Gharbi (Northeastern Syria). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 19, 555–564.

Bieliński, P. (2005). Arcaded houses from Tell Djassa El Gharbi and Tell Rad Shaqrah. In P. Bieliński, F. M. Stępniowski, Aux pays d’Allat. Melanges offerts a Michal Gawlikowski, Warsaw, 31–42.

Sołtysiak, A. (2003). Short fieldwork report. Tell Rad Shaqra (Syria), seasons 1994–1995, Studies in Historical Anthropology, 3, 138–149.

Szeląg, D. (2002). Zwierzyniec szakrański. Zawieszki i paciorki zoomorficzne z grobów dziecięcych na stanowisku Tell Rad Shaqrah (Syria). Światowit, 4 (45), 205–214.

Bieliński, P. (2002). A Small Limestone Head from Tell Rad Shaqrah and its Distant “Cousins” from Tell Brak, in L. al-Gailani Werr (ed.) Of Pots and Plans. Papers on the Archaeology and History of Mesopotamia and Syria presented to David Oates in Honour of his 75th Birthday, London 2002, 1-4.

Reiche, A. (1999). Iron Age pottery from Tell Rad Shaqrah (North-East Syria). In A. Hausleiter, A. Reiche (Eds.) Iron Age pottery in Northern Mesopotamia, Northern Syria and South-Eastern Anatolia: papers presented at the meetings of the international “table ronde” at Heidelberg (1995) and Nieborów (1997) and other contributions (=Altertumskunde des vorderen Orients, Bd. 10), Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 213–295.

Daszkiewicz, M., Bobryk, E. (1998). Medium-coarse Ware from Tell Rad-Shaqrah, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 9, 224–235.

Ławecka, D. (1998). Tell Rad Shaqrah (North Syria), Sector F. Światowit, XLI (3), fasc. A, 81–83.

Bieliński, P. (1996). Tell Rad Shaqrah. Excavations 1995. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 7, 160–170.

Bieliński, P. (1996). Prace wykopaliskowe w sezonie 1995, Raporty wykopaliskowe, 7, 156–167.

Daszkiewicz, M., Schneider, G. (1996). Wyniki analizy chemicznej wczesnodynastycznej ceramiki z Tell Rad Szakra, Raporty wykopaliskowe, 7, 168–172.

Koliński, R. (1996). Tell Rad Shaqrah 1991–1995. Orient Express 1996/3, 67–69

Bieliński, P. (1995). Tell Rad Shaqrah 1994, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 6, 109–117.

Bieliński, P. (1995). Od Eufratu do Tygrysu i jeszcze dalej. In M. L. Bernhard, Od Nilu do Eufratu. Polska Archeologia Śródziemnomorska 1981-1994. Warszawa: Centrum Archeologii Śródziemnomorskiej, 119–128.

Bieliński, P. (1994). Tell Rad Shaqrah 1993, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 5, 154–163.

Bieliński, P. (1993). The fifth season of explorations in Northeast Syria, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 4, 119–127.

Bieliński, P. (1992). The first campaign of excavations on Tell Rad Shaqrah (Hassake Southern Dam Basin), Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 3, 77–85.


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