Since it was first excavated, Mari has proved to be exceptional with several thousand cuneiform texts found in the ruins of the palace of Zimri-Lim, adding to its reputation as an extraordinary capital.
François Thureau-Dangin and George Dossin
The publication of the texts was first entrusted to François Thureau-Dangin and then to George Dossin. Dossin and his team made a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of the kingdom of Mari in the Amorite period. The materials published by George Dossin consist of administrative texts, which shed light on the palace economy, and letters. This epistolary correspondence is crucial in reconstructing the political and cultural history of the Middle East at the time of Hammurabi, king of Babylon.
In 1978, Jean-Marie Durand succeeded George Dossin as head of Mariote epigraphy. With his team, he broadened the scope of research into Mariote society, including the relationship between sedentary and nomadic populations. They continued to publish the royal archives of Mari and drew up an accurate chronology of the political history of Mesopotamia from the early 2nd millennium.
From 1998 onwards, new written documents were discovered and studied by another team led by Antoine Cavigneaux. From 1998 to 2002, they excavated the tablet house and found more than 1,500 documents, mainly for teaching scribes, from the last phase of the city’s occupation. In 2002, more than 1,000 tablets were unearthed in the foundations of the Great Palace. They date from the end of the shakkanakku period, before the Amorite dynasties took control of the city. This shed new light on aspects of the city’s history.