The Assyrian wall paintings of Til Barsib
About the project

Til Barsib, modern Tell Ahmar, is located in Syria on the east bank of the Euphrates river, close to the Turkish border. With a long settlement history, which dates back to the Ubaid Period (5th millennium BCE), Tell Ahmar is an important archaeological site and especially renowned for its Neo-Assyrian remains. In the Neo-Assyrian period (1st half of the 1st millennium BCE), the palace at Til Barsib was richly decorated with wall paintings in the Assyrian fashion; in total, thirteen of the palace’s rooms were colourfully painted with scenes depicting royal life, with the work probably undertaken in around 744-631 BCE.

Today, the only evidence for these paintings are black and white copies and some coloured photographs made by the early French excavators in 1920-31, now published in various volumes. So, in order to study the wall paintings and their position on the walls, one has to take the publications and the palace’s ground plan, and try to arrange them mentally.

Our visualisation combines the black and white copies and the coloured photographs, and places them into their architectural context. For the first time, it is now possible to understand the scenes according to their original arrangement and placement on the palace walls.

Literature
Bunnens, G. 1990: Tell Ahmar – 1988 Season, Leuven.

Bunnens, G. 1998: Tell Ahmar/Til Barsib, the ninth and tenth seasons (1996/1997), in: OrEx 1998/2, 27–30.

Parrot, A. 1961: Assur – Die mesopotamische Kunst vom XIII. vorchristlichen Jahrhundert bis zum Tode Alexanders des Grossen, München.

Thureau-Dangin, F. 1929: Tell Ahmar, in: Syria 10, 185–205.

Thureau-Dangin, F./Dunand, M. 1936: Til Barsib, BAH 23.

Project
3D visualisation, scientific reconstruction
Client
Self initiated project
Status
Completed in 2008
View of the reconstructed wall paintings in room 24 in Til Barsib.
View of the reconstructed wall paintings in room 24 in Til Barsib.