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Habuba Kabira is the ancient site name for one of the first colonies know to man. It is located in modern day Syria, along the Euphrates river in Mesopotamia. It is located about 800 miles up the Euphrates from Uruk. The site is sprawled along the Euphrates river, and is over 1 mile long. In fact, when it was first excavated, it was thought to be two different sites, and two different expeditions worked on it simultaneously. The majority of the site was excavated by Eva Strommenger in the 1970’s.

The colony was founded during the Late Uruk Period, about 3500-3100 BCE, with roots in the southern city of Uruk. It was only occupied for 100-150 years, which is a very short time by Mesopotamian settlement standards. The links to Uruk are evinced by similar tri-partite architecture, clay cone mosaics, reimchin bricks, and bevel rimmed bowls.

The city was very well planned out and built, it did not grow over time in an organic fashion which is common to many Mesopotamian sites. It has distinct residential districts and religious quarters. The religious area had temples and administrative buildings. The city had an advanced wall surrounding it on 3 sides (it is exposed to the river). The defenses consisted of a main wall with regularly placed protruding towers. In front, it has a curtain wall, which is a smaller wall designed to prevent enemies from directly attacking the main wall and undermining it. The roads were paved with potsherds, or broken pieces of pottery and baked clay.

Colonies were important to Uruk due to the paucity of naturally resources in southern Mesopotamia. They don’t have lumber, stone, or much of anything besides mud and water. Other sites related to Uruk during the Late Uruk Period include Susa, Tell Brak, and Jebel Aruda.

Jebel Aruda was a sister site to Habuba Kabira. It neighbors it directly to the north and seems to only contain temple complexes, including the Gray Temple and the Red Temple. Due to a Syrian damming project, the Habuba Kabira has been submerged under an artificial lake, but due to its location on a high point, Jebel Aruda remains intact.

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