Tell Leilan Project
Rain-fed northern Mesopotamia, the complement of irrigation agriculture southern Meso- potamia, was selected for a Yale University research program in 1978 because its late prehistoric-early historic, fourth to second millennium BC, developmental trajectory was virtually unknown. Further research quickly led the endeavor to Tell Leilan, an alluring site and hinterland laboratory for defi ning the dynamics of environmental and social forces across the Mesopotamian dry-farming landscape. Tell Leilan is located in the center of the extensive cereal production Khabur Plains of northeast Syria, maximizing cultivable land between the foothills of the Tur Abdin to the north and the Wadi Radd swamp to the south. Here seasonal rainfall (300 – 500 mm/annum), self-mulching soils, and fl at, unbroken topography together provide for the highest rain-fed cereal production in Syria and, along with the plains of Tell Afar and Mosul, probably ancient northern Mesopotamia as well (Weiss 1983a,b; Weiss 1986).
Equally significant, Tell Leilan also offered definition of an early historic developmental para- digm. On May 21, 1878 Hormuzd Rassam looked south from the crest of Do Gir, along the road from Turbe Spid (Qubur el-Bid, Khatuniyah) to Nusaibin, and on the horizon spied Tell Leilan, which he was “told has a wall round it like most of the Assyrian sites of importance” (Rassam 1897: 232 – 233). Thereafter, Assyriologists and archaeologists frequently visited the site, and by mid-century had speculated often that it was ancient Šubat-Enlil, the capital city of Šamšī-Adad’s “Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia” (Falkner 1957; Hrouda 1958; Van Liere 1963). In the summer of 1978, the nascent Tell Leilan Project generated the fi rst map of Leilan, its wall-enclosed 90 hectare topography, its 15-hectare Acropolis alongside the Wadi Jarrah, and the surface ceramic distributions to encourage archaeological excavations, regional surveys, and paleoenvironmental researches (Fig. 1). Seven research problems at the intersection of environmental and social dynamics have since been addressed with excavation- and survey-retrieved data, high-resolution radiocarbon dating, and paleoenvironmental research.
Global KM-A Congruence and the Indus Collapse
in Clim. Past Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-138-RC2. 2021.2020
Sharing Ore Sources: Lead Isotope Analyses of Third and Second Millennium BC Metals from Tell Atchana (Alalakh) and Tell Leilan (Shubat Enlil)2019
"Oman corals suggest that a stronger winter shamal season caused the Akkadian Empire (Mesopotamia) collapse
in Geology. Vol 47. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1130/G46604.12019
"Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos, and the 4.2 ka BP event in the northern North Atlantic, Anatolia and the Indus"
in Clim. Past Discuss. 2019. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-162-RC32019
"The 4.2 ka BP event in the northern North Atlantic"
in Clim. Past Discuss. 2019. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-162-RC22018
"Precise timing of abrupt increase in dust activity in the Middle East coincident with 4.2 ka social change"
in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2018. pp. 1-6. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.18081031152018
"Formal ratification of the subdivision of the Holocene Series/ Epoch (Quaternary System/Period): two new Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) and three new stages/ subseries"
in Episodes. 2018. pp. 1-11. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2018/0180162017
"4.2 ka BP Megadrought and the Akkadian Collapse"
in Harvey Weiss, ed. Megadrought and Collapse: from Early Agriculture to Angkor. Oxford University Press. pp. 93-159.2017
"Megadrought, Collapse, and Causality"
in Harvey Weiss, ed. Megadrought and Collapse: from Early Agriculture to Angkor. Oxford University Press. pp 1-31.2017
"Isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world's first cities were fed"
Nature Plants 3 June 5, 2017 doi:10.1038/nplants.2017.762017
"Seventeen kings who lived in tents"
The Late Third Millennium in the Ancient Near East. Oriental Institute Seminar 11, pp. 131-1622017
"Shubat-Enlil e il paese di Apum"
The Yale Tell Leilan Project, in Bianca M. T. Pieri, ed., Chi ha diritto alla Cultura? La situazione dei beni archeologici in Iraq e Siria. Roma: Università di Roma “La Sapienza.” Pp. 51-60.2016
"Global megadrought, societal collapse and resilience at 4.2-3.9 ka BP across the Mediterranean and west Asia,"
PAGES (Past Global Changes Magazine) 24.2: 62-63. doi: 10.22498/pages.24.2.622015
"Megadrought, collapse, and resilience in late 3rd millennium BC Mesopotamia"
in H. H. Meller, H. W. Arz, R. Jung, and R. Risch, eds., 2200BC- A climatic breakdown as a cause for the collapse of the Old World? Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle. Band 12/1: 35-52.2015
“Fingerprints, sex, state, and the organization of the Tell Leilan ceramic industry"
Journal of Archaeological Science, 57 (2015). pp.223-238.2014
"The Northern Levant during the Intermediate Bronze Age: Altered Trajectories,"
in A. E. Killebrew and M. L. Steiner, eds.,The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE. New York: Oxford University Press, 367-387.2013
"Tell Leilan and the Dynamics of Social and Environmental Forces across the Mesopotamian Dry-Farming Landscape,"
in D. Bonatz and L. Martin, eds., 100 Jahre archäologische Feldforschungen in Nordost-Syrien - eine Bilanz. Schriften der Max Freiherr von Oppenheim-Stiftung 18. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 101-1152013
"Contribution of anthropology to the study of climate change,"
Nature Climate Change 3, pp. 541-44.2013
"The Habur Region in the Old Babylonian Period."
in W. Orthmann, P. Matthiae, and M. al-Maqdissi, eds., Archéologie et Histoire de la Syrie I: La Syrie de l'époque néolithique à l'âge du fer, Schriften zur vorderasiatischen Archäologie Band 1,1. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 257-272..2012
Post-Akkadian Settlement Distribution in the Leilan Region Survey,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 261-2782012
The Development of Underdevelopment? Imperialism, Economic Exploitation and Settlement Dynamics on the Khabur Plains, ca 2300-2200 BC,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 241-2612012
Akkadian and post-Akkadian Plant Use at Tell Leilan,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 225-2402012
The End of Empire: Akkadian and post-Akadian glyptic in the Jezirah, the evidence from Tell Leilan in context,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 217-2252012
Late Third Millennium Ceramics from the Akkadian Administrative Building (AAB), TellLeilan, syria,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 193-2162012
Tell Leilan Akkadian Imperialization, Collapse, and Short-Lived Reoccupation Defined by High-Resolution Radiocarbon Dating,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 163-1922012
Quantifying Collapse: The Late Third Millennium BC,
in H. Weiss, ed., Seven Generations since the Fall of Akkad. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. vii-24
Formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch: a Discussion Paper by a Working Group of INTIMATE (Integration of ice-core, marine and terrestrial records) and the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (International Commission on Stratigraphy)
Journal of Quaternary Science 27.7: 649-659.2012
"Tell Leilan and the Dynamics of Social and Environmental Forces Across the Mesopotamian Dry-Farming Landscape,"
in 100 Jahre archäologische Feldforschungen in Nordost-Syrien - Eine Bilanz. Schriften der Max Freiherr von Oppenheim Stiftung. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.2012
Subat-Enlil. B. Archäologisch.
Realexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie, Band 13, Lfg 3/4, pp. 229-236.2012
"Drought is a recurring challenge in the Middle East,"
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.10: 3862-38672011
"Medieval coastal Syrian vegetation patterns in the principality of Antioch,"2011
"The Sea Peoples, from cuneiform tablets to carbon dating,"
PLoS ONE 6(6), e20232. doi:10.13712011
"The Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age in coastal Syria inferred from pollen-derived palaeoclimatic patterns,"
Global and Planetary Change 78: 178-1872010
"Late second-early first millennium BC abrupt climate changes in coastal Syria and their possible significance for the history of the Eastern Mediterranean,"2010
"Altered Trajectories: The Intermediate Bronze Age,"
in A. Killebrew and M. Steiner, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant. Oxford University Press.2010
"Micro- and Macro-Contexts of the Tell Leilan Eastern Lower Town Palace Archives,"
in Jesper Eidem, The Royal Archives from Tell Leilan. Old Babylonian Letters and Treaties. H. Weiss, ed., Yale Tell Leilan Research 2. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. xi-xlix.
- Fig 1. Topo Plan [ JPEG ]
- Fig 2. N Mesop 1800 [ JPEG ]
- Fig 3. Eastern Lower Town Palace plan [ JPEG ]
- Fig 4. Eastern Lower Town Palace isometric [ JPEG ]
- Fig 14. Tablet excavation in process, Building Level 2 [ JPEG ]
- Fig 15. Administrative tablets in situ, Room 22 floor, Building Level 2 [ JPEG ]
- Fig 18. Leilan Region Survey Period IIc [ JPEG ]
- Fig 19. Leilan Region Survey Period I [ JPEG ]
- Fig 20. Possible Nomadic Encampments of Period I [ JPEG ]
- Fig 21. Paleoclimate proxy records for 4.2kaBP and 5.2kaBP abrupt climate change events [ JPEG ]2008
"Legal and archaeological territories of the second millennium BC in northern Mesopotamia,"
Antiquity, 82 (2008). pp. 585-599.2007
"The Akkadian Occupation in the Northwest Area of the Tell Leilan Acropolis",
KASKAL Volume 4, 2007.2007
"The Third Millennium City Wall at Tell Leilan, Syria: Identity, Authority and Urbanism,"
in J. Bretschneider, J. Driessen and K. Vanlerberghe, eds., Monumental Public Architecrure in the Bronze Age Near East and Aegean. Leuven: Peters, pp. 183-212.2006
"Holocene Climate and Cultural Evolution in Late Prehistoric-Early Historic West Asia,"
in M. Staubwasser and H. Weiss, eds., Holocene Climate and Cultural Evolution in Late Prehistoric-Early Historic West Asia. Quaternary Research (special issue) Volume 66, Issue 3 (November), pp. 372-387.
- Table 1 [ JPEG ]2005
"The Häbür Region in the Late Third and Early Second Millennium B.C.,"
in Winfried Orthmann, ed., The History and Archaeology of Syria. Vol. 1. Saarbrucken: Saarbrucken Verlag.
- Fig 1. Ancient North Mesop map [ PDF ]
- Fig 2. Habur surveys map [ PDF ]
- Fig 3. Van Oman Soreq [ PDF ]
- Fig 4. LRS Period IIb [ PDF ]
- Fig 5. Period IIc [ PDF ]
- Fig 6. Period I [ PDF ]
- Fig 7. LRS Histogram [ PDF ]
- Fig 8. Tell Taya Stratigraphy [ PDF ]
- Fig 9. Sagir Bazar Old Babylonian closely packed domestic quarters [ PDF ]
- Fig 10. Lyonnet survey [ PDF ]
- Fig 11. Baidar survey [ PDF ]
- Fig 12. Acrop Pd I BL II facade [ JPEG ]
- Fig 13. Lower Town Palace East isometric [ PDF ]
- Fig 14. LRS Period 0 [ PDF ]
- Fig 15. LRS 186 Farfara [ PDF ]2005
"Settlement, Economy, and Society in the Tell Leilan Region, Syria, 3000-1000 BC,"
PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge, July 22, 2005.2004
The Dynamics of State Development and Imperialization at Third Millennium Tell Leilan, Syria
In Orient Express Vol. 21, No 2.2004
"Why 'Dada Measured 40,000 Liters of Barley from Nagar for Sippar'"
4ICAANE Berlin March 29-April 3, 2004 Tell Leilan Project Poster Presentations2004
"The Akkadian Administration on the Tell Leilan Acropolis"
4ICAANE Berlin March 29-April 3, 2004 Tell Leilan Project Poster Presentations2003
Ninevite 5 Period Agriculture at Tell Leilan: Preliminary Results
In The origins of North Mesopotamian civilization: Ninevite 5 chronology, economy, society. Brussels: Brepols. E. Rova and H. Weiss, editors.2003
Chemical Characterization of Tablets, Sealing Clays, and Source Clays from Tell Leilan, Syria
In The origins of North Mesopotamian civilization: Ninevite 5 chronology, economy, society. Brussels: Brepols. E. Rova and H. Weiss, editors.2003
Ninevite 5 Periods and Processes.
In The origins of North Mesopotamian civilization: Ninevite 5 chronology, economy, society. Brussels: Brepols. E. Rova and H. Weiss, editors.
- Fig 8. Ninevite 5 Absolute Chronology [ PDF ]
- Fig 10. Tell Leilan Survey Period IV--LC 5 (ca. 3400-3000 BC) [ PDF ]
- Fig 11. Tell Leilan Survey Period IV--Southern Uruk (ca. 3400-3000 BC) [ PDF ]
- Fig 12. Tell Leilan Survey Period IIIa (ca. 3000-2900 BC) [ PDF ]
- Fig 13. 5.2 ka BP Abrupt Climate Change [ PDF ]2003
Glyptic Evidence 1993-1999 from Tell Leilan IIa-IIb Periods2003
The Ninevite 5 Sequence of Glyptic at Tell Leilan2003
The Ninevite 5 Chipped Stone Assemblage from Tell Leilan: Preliminary Results2002
Revising the contours of history at Tell Leilan.
Annales Archeologiques Arabes Syriennes, Cinquantenaire. vol. 45, pp. 59-74.
- Fig. 7. Table 1. Cultivated taxa within Tell Leilan flotation samples (W. Wetterstrom) [ PDF ]
- Fig. 8. Period II-III pooled paleobotanical samples (W. Wetterstrom) [ PDF ]
- Fig. 9. Periods IIIa-b, IIId, IIa, IIb paleobotanical samples (W. Wetterstrom) [ PDF ]
- Fig. 10. Leilan IIb Acropolis last floor weighted average, calibrated, 8 barley (1 harvest) radiocarbon samples [ PDF ]
- Fig. 11. Leilan regional survey, period IIb [ PDF ]
- Fig. 12. Leilan regional survey, period "IIc" [ PDF ]
- Fig. 13. Leilan regional survey, period I [ PDF ]2002
in Peter Peregrine and Melvin Ember, eds., Encyclopedia of Prehistory. vol 8. HRAF / Kluwer.2001
Cultural responses to climate change during the late Holocene.
Science, 292: 667-673.2001
What drives societal collapse?
Science, 291: 609-610.2000
Climate change and the collapse of the Akkadian empire: Evidence from the deep sea.
Geology, 28: 379-382.2000
Imperial responses to environmental dynamics at the late Third Millennium Tell Leilan.
Orient Express, 4:94-99.2000
Beyond the younger Dryas:
Collapse as adaptation to abrupt climate change in ancient West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. In Environmental disaster and the archaeology of human response, Edited by Garth Bawden and Richard Martin Reycraft. Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, Anthropological Papers, No. 7: 75-95.1996
"The Leilan Tablets 1991 a Preliminary Report"
Orientalia, NOVA SERIES, Vol. 63, No. 4 (1994), pp. 305-3441994
The Genesis and Collapse of the Akkadian Empire,
in M. Liverani, ed., Akkad the First World Empire: Structure, Ideology, Traditions. Padua: Sargon. pp. 131-155.1993
The genesis and collapse of Third Millennium north Mesopotamian Civilization.
Science, 291: 995-1088.1992
Tell Leilan sila-bowls and the Akkadian Reorganization of Subarian Agro-production.
"Altbabylonische Wirtschaftsurkunden aus Tall Leilān (Syrien)
PhD Dissertation, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, May 31, 1991.1990
Tell Leilan 1989: New Data for Mid-Third Millennium Urbanization and State Formation.
Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft zu Berlin, 122:193-218.1986
The Origins of Cities in Dry-Farming Syria and Mesopotamia in the Third Millennium B.C.1985
Tell Leilan on the Habur Plains of Syria,
Biblical Archaeologist, 48.1: 5-34.1975
Merchants of Susa: Godin V and plateau-lowland relations in the late Fourth Millennium BC.