The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          

 


The Monastery Church

 

monastery church and chapel looking east toward the Khabur River. The semi-circular apse belonging the haikal (Syriac, temple room) is visible in the foreground. Fiver superimposed floor surfaces were detected inside the monastery church. The original floor surface (shown in this image) was composed of a thick plaster layer poured with great care. Coins associated the first phase of the monastery church correlates its construction with the prosperity and security during the reign of Harun al-Rashid (AH 170-193/786-809). The second phase floor was inferior in construction and dates from the end of the Abbasid Caliphate or beginning of the Seljuq Period. The third phase floor dates from the late 11th century. The fourth phase floor in the monastery church can be dated by an Ayyubid coin of al Adil (minted in al-Ruha in the year AH 604/AD 1207. The fifth and final phase, when the monastery was in decline, dates to the period of the Mongol invasions (14th and early 15th century).

An Abbasid Lamp

Copper fals minted during the Umayyad Period and belonging to the "reformed" style that dates from AH 79-132/AD 689-750. The coin measures 20.0 mm. in diameter, 1.5 mm. in thickness, and weighs 3.01 grams. It was discovered by Chad Roberts and was embedded in the plaster steps leading from the sanctuary into the haikal. This specimen compares favorably with numerous copper specimens from Tuneinir and with examples such as Mitchiner (coin 65).

Copper fals of King Al Adil minted in the city of al-Ruha (Edessa in modern Turkey) during the year AH [604]/AD [1207]. The coin is slightly irregular and measures 21 x 19.3 mm. and weighs 2.93 grams. It was discovered by Chad Roberts cemented into the plaster steps (between the haikal and sanctuary) of the first phase of the monastery church. This specimen compares favorably with dozens of specimens from other portions of Tuneinir and with specimens in various collections (see Balog 351w). The central legend is in Qarmati Kufi while the upper and lower lines are in Naskh script.

Three molded stucco panels have been recovered from the Area IX church. The first panel illustrates a foliated cross resembling the Medieval Khatchkar, Armenian stone cross, used on memorial stones. It was mounted on the exterior of the south wall of the monastery church.

A triangular shaped clay oil lamp, made by slab techique, discovered by Jim Walker in locus 935019 at a depth of 5 cm. beneath the surface of plaster floor 935019. The lamp measures 8.45 cm long, 6.0 cm. in width, and 2.3 cm. tall. It is brown (7.5YR5/4) in color and greatly resembles a triangle shaped stone lamp from Qasr al-Hayr East (Grabar et al. 1978:plate Ap.66).

A wheelmade hooded saucer discovered by Jim Walker in locus 945028 resting on plaster floor surface 945029 and 50 cm. beneath plaster floor surface 945027. The lamp measures 6.5 by 7.3 cm. and is 3.2 cm. tall. It is dark reddish brown (2.5YR3/4) with very small traces of deteriorated green glaze. It is smaller than the typical Ayyubid blue glazed hooded saucer lamps from many areas at Tuneinir. It closely resembles the small hooded saucer lamps discovered in the Seljuk loci in Area 2 during 1996.

A slipper shaped clay oil lamp, moldmade, discovered by Jim Walker in locus 924048 at a depth of 10 cm. below plaster floor surface 924049. The lamp measures 17.5 cm long by 6.4 cm. wide and 4.0 cm. tall. It is light yellowish brown (10YR6/4) with molded decoration on the shoulder and decoration in the area between the wick and fill holes. It belongs to the Umayyad or Early Abbasid Period forms.

Small blown glass bottle found in association with the human burials in the north acrosolium. One interpretation is that the bottle was a Chrism container for oil used in various ritual contexts such as baptism, marriage and burial.

Pottery ostracon discovered from Pat McWhorter in locus 924034. The central design of the ostracon is a cross below several lines of Syriac letters. The sherd is pink (5YR7/4) in color and the inscription was executed in black paint that has faded over the centuries.

Pottery sherd decorated with incised designs, discovered by Pat McWhorter in locus 925015. The incised design shows a figure holding a staff and a second figure that may be upside-down. The two sherds are part of a large jar that may have been decorated with scenes of the monastery or the story of a saint's life.

Raised relief design of a rosette in plaster discovered in locus 9370024. This panel fragment is very similar to panels discovered in the Area 3 church and Area 9 monastery church

 
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