Tell Sheikh Hamad

Tell Sheikh Hamad (Arabic: تل الشيخ حمد), also Dur-Katlimmu, is an archeological site in eastern Syria on the lower Khabur River,[1] a tributary of the Euphrates.

Tell Sheikh Hamad
Ruins of the "Red House" of Tell Sheikh Hamad exposed by excavations (6th century AD)
Shown within Near East
Tell Sheikh Hamad (Syria)
RegionAl-Hasakah Governorate
Coordinates35°38′36″N 40°44′25″E

Chalcolithic occupation

The site of Tell Sheikh Hamad was occupied from the Late Chalcolithic period (Late Neolithic, M4), when it was a small settlement.[2]

Assyrian city of Dur-Katlimmu

In the 10th to 7th centuries BC, it was the site of the Assyrian city of Dur-Katlimmu, which may have been founded during the reign of Shalmaneser I. The name Dur-Katlimmu may refer to the limmu (an appointed royal official) Ina-Aššur-šuma-asbat son of Aššur-nadin-šume.

During the fall of the Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), sections of the Assyrian army retreated to the western corner of Assyria after the fall of Nineveh, Harran and Carchemish, and a number of Assyrian imperial records survive between 604 BC and 599 BC in and around Dur-Katlimmu, and so it is possible that remnants of the Assyrian administration and army still continued to hold out in the region for a few years.[3]

Excavations have recovered 550 cuneiform Akkadian and 40 Aramaic texts belonging to a senior guard of Ashurbanipal.

After the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Dur-Katlimmu became one of the many Near- and Middle-Eastern cities called Magdalu/Magdala/Migdal/Makdala/Majdal, all of which are simply Semitic language toponyms meaning "fortified elevation, tower".[1][4]


  1. Kühne, Hartmut, ed. (2005), Magdalu/Magdala: Tall Seh Hamad von der postassyrischen Zeit bis zur römischen Kaiserzeit, Volume 1, Berichte der Ausgrabung Tall Seh Hamad/Dur-Katlimmu, Berlin: Harrassowitz.
  2. Bryce, Trevor; Birkett-Rees, Jessie (2016). Atlas of the Ancient Near East: From Prehistoric Times to the Roman Imperial Period. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 9781317562108.
  3. Parpola, S.; Whiting, R.M., eds. (1997), Assyria, 1995, (Symposium Proceedings), Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project.
  4. cf. Hoffmeier, James Karl; Millard, Alan Ralph, eds. (2004), The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions, (Symposium Proceedings), Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, p. 105.
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