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The site of Tell Mardikh, ancient Ebla, in north inner Syria, had three periods of flourishing: in Early Bronze IVA, the age of the State Archives, Early Bronze IVB and Middle Bronze I–II, between ca. 2400 and 1600 BC. The volume by Agnese Vacca explores the phases of formation of this great urban culture between ca. 2750/2700 and 2450 BC (EB III–IVA1) by means of an accurate and in-depth analysis of stratigraphy, architecture, ceramic materials and small finds.
The analysis was carried out in part on the field, but it is also the brilliant result of a painstaking work of study of excavation records and files from the archives of the Ebla Excavation, which allowed the author to collect consistent evidence from individual buildings – like Building G2 and Building G5 – and to relate it with scattered evidence from other sectors of the town, leading to the reconstruction of a coherent picture of pre-Palace G phases. As concerns specifically the ceramic repertory, Vacca, starting with the evidence from Ebla, enlarges her analysis, singling out a specific pottery horizon of the Ebla region, whose relations with other contemporary assemblages in the Northern Levant are presented in detail. The resulting picture from Ebla and its region has been related with the contemporary evidence from the Northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia and has been framed in the general background of the process of state formation in this very important region of the ancient Near East.