Area I - Hellenistic and Parthian



A pre-Islamic destruction episode was discovered by Mark Hartmann (now Dr. Hartmann at the University of Arkansas) during the first excavation season in 1987.

Additional walls and floor surfaces associated with this episode were investigated during 1995 and 1996. Fragments of a blue glazed Parthian style jug with twisted handle were found in the destruction fill as well as sherds decorated with the distinctive Parthian motif, a zigzag pattern, incised around the shoulder of an unglazed jar. One inscription consists of 3 letters written in the Parthian script typical of the second and third century A.D.


Hadar Seeloo, foreman of the Syrian workmen in Area 1, carefully exposed the a Parthian altar that was attached to the north wall of the temple. Several pottery jars and a bowl were discovered in front of the altar; we interpret the pottery jars and bowl as ritual offerings. A half dozen inscriptions on the shoulder of the jars refer to measures of volume. Our assumption, based on the high temperature fire that burnt in the temple, is that the jars contained olive oil.


Rian Thum supervised the excavation of a mudbrick temple constructed during the Parthian Period.


Liz Alesi and Rian Thum draw the mudbricks in the Parthian wall.



The identification of the mudbrick temple with the Parthian culture is based upon the distinctively decorated unglazed and glazed Parthian pottery wares found inside the structure. Rocker pattern storage jar sherds were found in the fill within the temple.




Bodysherds with fragments of Parthian letters written with tar on the exterior of tar-lined storage jars. Found in loci 126006 and 126015 by Dr. Michael Fuller. The Parthian loci were excavated by Michael Fuller (in 1995), Rian Thum (in 1996), and Chip Clatto and Louis Naes (in 1997).



Bodysherds with fragments of Parthian letters written with tar on the exterior of tar-lined storage jars. Found in loci 126006; registration number 5518 in 1996.



Bodysherds in situ of tar-lined storage jars. Found in 1996


Aramaic script was used by the Parthians at Tell Tuneinir to label the tar-lined storage jars in loci 126006 and 126015.


Parthian, tar lined pottery jar without an inscription from Area 1, Square 26, locus 15. Discovered during the 1995 field season.



Parthian Altar in final photograph.



Patera (offering bowl) in situ on the Parthian altar.

Mudbrick defining the corner of the Parthian temple.

Blue glazed Parthian jar with twisted handle from the Parthian temple.

Drawing of the blue glazed Parthian jar from the temple structure at Tell Tuneinir.

Shallow plate found crushed on the floor of the Parthian Temple at Tell Tuneinir.

Drawing of the shallow plate found crushed on the floor of the Parthian temple.

Drawing of a rocker decorated jar found in Area 1, Square 32, Locus 01, Registration number 7958
Exterior = 7.5YR7/4 (pink), Interior = 5YR7/4 (pink), Core = 5YR6/3 Light Reddish Brown.
Rim diameter = 20 cm, height = 12.7 cm, maximum width = 25 cm, wall thickness - 1.1 cm. .

Chip Clatto supervised the dismantling of the Parthian temple structure. It was necessary to explore the building beneath the temple.

Large, crushed cooking vessel discovered in Area 1 Square 25, Locus 06 during the 1995 field season. Stratigraphically and technologically it belongs with the Parthian destruction deposits at Tell Tuneinir.


Parthain pottery found in situ on the floor of the Area 1 building that we interpret as a Parthian temple.


Excavating outside of the Parthian temple structure in Area 1. The altar against the north wall of the Parthian temple can be seen is the background.


Profiling a bulk in Area 1 near the Parthian Temple.


Crushed pottery jar with splash of slip along the shoulder. Excavated during the 1998 field season.


Crushed pottery jar from Area 1, Square 11, locus 06. Excavated during the 1995 field season.


Etched mudbrick walls and a diagonal bulk during the 1998 field season.


Parthian Temple in Area 1 with temple along the north wall.


Parthian Temple in Area 1 with temple along the north wall.


Photographic Credit: Professor David Hanlon, SLCC-MC
Webpage created 24 June 2005
Migrated 2 April 2008
Webpage updated 1 April 2011