Unlike the excavation sites of the
resembling Mari and Ebla, Ugarit was built with stone not with
mud-bricks. Which is why most of the ruins are quite evident.
The site itself is a large tell or hill of
accumulated ruins from past kingdoms, and in some parts of the tell
it has been excavated far enough to excavate the artifacts of the
7th Millennium BC. The main entrance is through a ticket office on
the West side of the site. To the south are remains of the fortress
and the walls and gate that used to protect the main palace complex.
The walls and fortress belong to the 15th century BC after the
The main palace dates back to the 14th to
13th century BC. There are two pillars on both sides of the
entrance. Through the entrance between the pillars is a courtyard
sort of reception area which opens up into the rest of the palace.
On the left of this courtyard are a few rooms that where the
important archives were found. Also evident in the courtyard are the
water canals that would send the water around the building. Further
on are the 90 rooms situated in a maze like structure covering an
area of approximately 6500 sq. meters.
Although this is all on the first floor
level, this layout of rooms were buildings of several stories high.
The stonework was usually mixed with wooden work. This palace is
where the ruling family or dynasty used to live, and it is possible
to imagine the importance of this palace's role, which was quite
self dependant even having the facilities for baking the archive
tablets. In some of the rooms you can often see staircases which
used to lead to the upper floors.
On both the north and south sides of the
main palace is what are called subsidiary palaces. There are also a
few resident houses with a shrine, and the Governor's residence,
which is older as it was not rebuilt after the 14th century BC. East
of the main palace is the residential area. There is a large
building in this quarter which is called the House of Rupanu.
Further up the tell is the main temple area. There are two temples
on this acropolis, one dedicated to the worship of the Semitic
patron deity Baal, and the other to Dagon.
The temple of Baal is structured as a
courtyard with an altar in the center, the cella like that of the
of Bel. The temple of Dagon who is God of the Underworld,
follows the same plan as the Baal temple. In between the two temples
are the priests quarters where an archive of religious writings and
chants were found.
Some private houses were found, which have
provided information about the various handicrafts that the
inhabitants may have practiced including ship building, weaving, and
ceramic work, not to mention bronze work.