During the 40 years of excavations at Tell Mardikh-Ebla almost 200 balance weights from the Middle Bronze I-II (c. 2000-1600 BC) levels were found. They actually represent the most important corpus of weights from Syria dating from the Old Syrian Period. Since other important contemporary groups of specimens (such those from Hama, Alalakh, Mari and Kultepe) are still unpublished or only partially published, we must look at the Eblaic metrological material as the key-reference to investigate the weighing systems and procedures employed in the region during that period. Moreover, the presence of several weights from the Royal Palace G (c. 2400-2300 BC) and the data related to the economic activities collected from the thousands of cuneiform tablets found in the archive allow us to follow the inner evolution of the systems during the IIIrd and IInd Millennium BC. Most of the MB weights are in hematite, barrel-shaped, usually with flattened base, albeit hemispherical, conical and spherical specimens are also attested. Other materials employed are limestone, basalt, and pyrite. Only one zoomorphic weight is attested: it is lion-shaped and it was found inside the Western Palace, the Crown’s Prince residence. The analysis of the masses clearly reveals that the Western mina of c. 470 g is still largely used, with the linked system of sub-multiples reckoned at 60 (shekel of 7.8 g), 50 (shekel of 9.4 g), 40 (shekel of 11.4 g), which permitted an easy conversion of the weighed goods between Anatolia, Inner Syria and the coastal regions. However, the major difference with the past (Early Bronze IV) is the introduction of the Mesopotamian system, based on a shekel of 8.4 g, and on an heavier mina of c. 504 g. The Eblaic weights were found in defensive, private, cultic and palatial buildings, indicating the widespread use of weighing procedures in the town. Here we will present in particular the evidence from Western Fort, Temple N (probably dedicated to Shamash), Western Palace and from the large quarter of private houses in Area B, taking into account the context and the relation with other broad functional classes of materials (unworked pieces of stones, tools, clay sealings, etc.). Specific findings, such as two remarkable small hematite sphendonoids discovered directly over the floor of Temple N, also suggest the symbolic value of weights in relation to cultic activities, others imply the presence of balance sets stored in rooms of public buildings, albeit no bronze balance pans were found insofar at Ebla. Finally, the evidence from private houses seems to indicate that few weights (usually two or three; ranging from one to ten shekels) employed for different types of economic transactions and/or handicraft activities were normally present in the Eblaic dwellings.
Balance weights from Tell Mardikh-Ebla and weighting systems in the Levant during the Middle Age Bronze / E. Ascalone, L. Peyronel - In: Weights in context: bronze age weighing systems of eastern Mediterranean : chronology, typology, material and archaeological contexts : proceedings / [a cura di] M.E. Alberti, E. Ascalone, L. Peyronel. - Prima edizione. - Roma : Istituto Italiano di Numismatica, 2006. - ISBN 8885914446. - pp. 127-160 (( convegno International Colloquium Weights in context : Bronze age weighting systems of Eastern Mediterranean chronology, typology, material and archaeological contexts tenutosi a Roma nel 2004.
|Titolo:||Balance weights from Tell Mardikh-Ebla and weighting systems in the Levant during the Middle Age Bronze|
PEYRONEL, LUCA (Co-primo)
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-OR/05 - Archeologia e Storia Dell'Arte Del Vicino Oriente Antico|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2006|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Sapienza Università di Roma|
Istituto Italiano di Numismatica
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|