Location and description of the site 

Tel Hmira is located in the Qalamoun region, 95 km to the north of Damascus, and about 11 km to the north-east of Deir Atiyah, in the middle of the town that it took its name from. It is located at a stream of water flow known as Tel al-Sahrij. The Tel has a semi-square form, with a side length of about 75 meters. It has an altitude about 7 meters above the surrounding plain, and about 1200 meters above the sea level, its coordinates (36 ° 49’E 34 ° 58’N).

The site was a subject to vandalism actions that removed many of its features and reduced its area to the  present extent .

The site was mentioned in many arab sources including the accounts of geography and historians.  Surveys showed that there are  many archaeological monuments in the town of Hmira and its surroundings, including the Roman canal that borders the Tel from the eastern side, and there are archaeological mounds: the first called Tel Al-Fakhouria, located to the northeast of Tel Hmira at a distance of approximately 300 meters, which is a hill destroyed by razing of the soil and moving the stones. And Tel Al-Hammam is located to the west of the town.

History of archaeological works

The excavation works began at the site  in 2010 and continued until 2012, when  three excavation seasons were carried out, during which a topographic survey of the site was carried out and some archaeological soundings were opened. 

The  national mission working at the site was composed of  : Mahmoud Hammoud, Muhammad Maad, Jihad Abu Kahleh, Sami Saleh, Ayham Shabib, Khairat Abdul Karim.

Archeological levels at the site 

The works showed the existence of three archaeological levels that could be traced from the oldest till the most recent:

  1. Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (1300-1100BC)
  2. Iron Age I  (1150-900 BC) 
  3. Aramaic period ( 9th and 7th centuries BC) 
Historical overview of the site

The earliest human occupation at the site attested during the Aramaic period, where remains of large buildings with broad walls built of adobe on limestone foundations, some of these walls are still well preserved up to a height of 2 m were found. In the southwestern corner of the site, a small room with a stove was uncovered. Also storage jars bearing Aramaic script  referring to what could be a temple at the site were found. In addition, a lot of perforated stone weights were found that are used in the manufacture of weaving and spinning, especially in the looms. The importance of Tel Hmira comes from being an important station located midway between Homs and Damascus, which were located on  most important and most active trade routes in the history of the ancient East, which stretched from Mesopotamia, then north and central Syria to its south, reaching to Palestine and Egypt. Perhaps the site was the most important station before Damascus, and after Nishala/Nazala (the two villages now named Al-Qaryaten), according to the road coming from Palmyra and the Euphrates. The site was also an  important  commercial and strategic  center during the Iron Age, as attested by several Assyrain sources.

أوان فخارية من تل حميرا
كسرة جرة فخارية تحمل كتابة آرامية
Main discoveries at the site 
  • Architectures

Remains of a number of housing and industrial buildings were found. The walls were built of mud on stone foundations, while some walls were built of compacted mud. In the buildings of this level, It was found a provision room containing jars and clay wares for storage, some of them contained leftover foodstuffs such as pulses, grains, and others. As well as, it was found many mills of grain and basaltic and lime mills, which were adjacent to an oven and a fireplace.

From the end of the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age (1300-1100 BC), the excavations unearthed some housing floors and a stone foundation for a wall of (120 cm) in width, in addition to some small walls built of mud and built on foundations from hard limestone. A thick ash layer is observed on the floors of this layer, indicating a big fire and destruction that the site was a subject to at the end of this phase.

  • Artifacts 

The discovered artifacts were composed mostly of storage jars. Among the most important pottery fragments is a part of the mouth and shoulder of a jar inscribed with Aramaic letters, namely “DRRAHM”. it might have been Dar Al Rahman, namely “the temple of God”, and this gives a clear indication of the possibility of presence of a temple on the site whose remains are still visible on the surface of the site as wide walls.

Numerous kilns, pans, milling tools, and many stone vessels made of basalt stones were found and were unavailable in the region, which means that they were imported from other places. There is a large collection of clay weights, and some clay and stone textile spindles, and bone tools used in the textile industry. Imprints of different sizes of seals continued to be found on the loops and rims of pottery vessels, carrying animal and plant motifs.

Prepared by: Mahmoud Hammoud – Ibrahim Omiri,

Department of Antiquities of Damascus Countryside

طبعات أختام على شفاه الأواني الفخارية
طبعة ختم تظهر شجرة الحياة وتحت شخصان
ختم دائري مسطح


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