Max says ecstatically: 'The Balikh - look at
it! Tells everywhere!'
The Tells are indeed
imposing – large, formidable, and very solid-looking.
‘Whacking great Tells,’ says Max.
Christie, Come, Tell Me How You Live – An
Archaeological Memoir (1946)
In the late
1930s, Agatha Christie (indeed, the best-seller crime author…) and her husband,
the archaeologist Max Mallowan, travelled through Northern Syria, on the road
from Chagar Bazar to the town of Raqqa on the Euphrates. During their trip they
visited the barren plain of the Balikh River and both of them were highly
impressed by the archaeological richness of the region and its many ancient
Max’s "whacking great Tells" was Tell Sabi Abyad, Arabic for “Mound
of the White Boy”. Since 1986 archaeologists carry out large-scale excavations
at this site. The results are spectacular: 9000-years-old prehistoric villages
are exposed, as well as a Bronze Age fortress with hundreds of cuneiform
This is the
official website of the archaeological project at Tell Sabi Abyad in Syria - a
project of Leiden University in The Netherlands. Its aim is to provide
information about the goals and results of the excavation and about the
different aspects of the research being conducted at Tell Sabi Abyad.
So sad: the
storehouses of Tell Sabi Abyad
in Raqqa in Syria have been
bags with stored artefacts and other materials from Tell Sabi Abyad, thrown out
of the storehouse in Raqqa
Read about the plundering and destruction: