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Ziyaret Tepe
Ziyaret Tepe is located in Turkey
Ziyaret Tepe
Location in Turkey

Tushhan (also Tushan, or Tušhan) was an ancient Assyrian city in Mesopotamia. It was a provincial capital in the upper Tigris river valley, on the south bank and inhabited since the Mitanni period, and mainly during the Neo-Assyrian period during the Iron Age.

It is now believed to be located at the site of the modern Ziyaret Tepe (Kurdish: Tepa Barava‎), Diyarbakır Province, Turkey.


  • History 1
  • Archaeology 2
    • Spurious "language" 2.1
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The site of Ziyaret Tepe was occupied as early as the Early Bronze Age. Most of the urban development uncovered to date is from the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. In late Assyrian times it was known as Tushhan, until circa 612 BC to 605 BC, when that empire fell. The site is expected to be inundated by the Ilısu Dam around 2014.


Work at the location began with 3 years of surface survey and remote sensing in 1997 [1][2][3] Since 2000, site has been excavated by a team directed by Timothy Matney of the University of Akron.[4][5][6][7][8]

An important assemblage of cuneiform clay tablets was found there, translated by Simo Parpola of Helsinki University.[9]

Spurious "language"

A cuneiform tablet was discovered in 2009 at Ziyaret Tepe that contained a list of around 60 names. It was a list of women deported from an unknown location around 800 BC, during the Neo Assyrian Empire period. According to John MacGinnis of the University of Cambridge McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, these women may have come from around the Zagros Mountains.[10] He said that the most likely possibility was that these names belonged to Shubrians, a people speaking a language isolate.[11] However, nearly all of the names can be identified with known languages,[12] and the supposed language of the "Tushan names" is spurious.[13]

Ziyaret Tepe is quite close to the town of Üçtepe, Bismil (in Turkish), located near Kurkh Monoliths, Assyrian monuments that contain a description of the Battle of Qarqar — of interest to biblical and Ancient Near East studies.[14] In fact, Üçtepe was believed to have been the location of Tushan by some scholars in the past. Today the monoliths are located at the British Museum.

See also


  1. ^ Timothy Matney, The First Season of Excavation at Ziyaret Tepe in the Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 24, pp. 7-30, 1998
  2. ^ Timothy Matney and Lewis Somers, The Second Season of Excavation at Ziyaret Tepe in the Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 25, pp. 203-219, 1999
  3. ^ Timothy Matney and A. Bauer, The Third Season of Archaeological Survey at Ziyaret Tepe in Diyarbakir Province, Anatolica, vol. 26, pp. 119-128, 2000
  4. ^ Timothy Matney et al.,Archaeological Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2000 and 2001, Anatolica, vol. 28, pp. 47-89, 2002
  5. ^ Timothy Matney et al.,Archaeological Investigations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2002, Anatolica, vol. 29, pp. 175-221, 2003
  6. ^ Timothy Matney and L. Rainville, Archaeological Investigations at Ziyaret Tepe: 2003 and 2004, Anatolica, vol. 31, pp. 19-68, 2005
  7. ^ Timothy, Matney et al., Report on Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe, 2006 Season, Anatolica, vol. 33, pp. 23-73, 2007
  8. ^ Timothy, Matney et al., Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe 2007-2008, Anatolica, vol. 35, pp. 37-84, 2009
  9. ^ S. Parpola, Cuneiform Texts From Ziyaret Tepe (Ancient Tushan) 2002-2003, State Archives of Assyria Bulletin, vol. 16, 2006
  10. ^ Lost language’s discovery opens window into Tigris’ threatened richness todayszaman - May 27, 2012
  11. ^ Mysterious tablet’s secrets revealed hurriyetdailynews August/27/2012
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tushan Names".  
  14. ^ Nadav Naʼaman, Ancient Israel and Its Neighbors: Interaction and Counteraction : Collected Essays, Eisenbrauns, 2005. p. 2 ISBN 1575061082


  • Timothy Matney and Ann Donkin, Mapping the Past: An Archaeogeophysical Case Study from Southeastern Turkey, Near Eastern Archaeology, vol. 69, pp. 12–26, 2006

External links

  • Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Project website
  • Ziyaret Tepe page at Cambridge

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