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The ancient semitic city of Mari lies on the Euprates, 11km northwest of Abu Kamal.

The city was founded in the Mesopotamian Early Dynastic period I, around 2900 BCE. It controlled the trade routes of the Euphrates, to which it was connected by manmade canals. Archaeological evidence shows that the city had a flood defence system as well as thick inner ramparts. Extensive gardens and craftsmen’s areas have been identified between the inner and outer ramparts. One large stone building has been discovered, which appears to have been administrative in nature.

Mari was rebuilt in the Second Dynastic Period, completely altering the internal organization of the city into a pre-planned grid with a royal palace at its centre. This era of construction has been split into four habitation laters, two of which date to the later Akkadian period. Six separate temples have been identified.

The city then came under the control of the Shakkanakkus until the late 19th century BCE, when it passed to the Amorite Lim dynasty. It was annexed by Babylonia in 1761 BCE and survived as a small settlement. It was eventually abandoned during the Hellenistic period.

The site is archaeologically important due to the amount of information discovered on state administration and political organization in the 2ndmillennium BCE. 25,000 tablets detailing the day-to-day workings of Mari have been instrumental in understanding the region and Mesopotamian people.

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