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H 290 x W 205 mm

270 pages

190 figures, 6 tables, 39 plates (colour throughout)

Published Mar 2021

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789697568

Digital: 9781789697575

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Fortifications Near East; archaeology of buildings; military architecture

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From Edessa to Urfa: The Fortification of the Citadel

By Cristina Tonghini

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This book presents results of an archaeological research project focused on a specific monumental area, the citadel, in the city of Urfa (Turkey), known in ancient times as Edessa. Three seasons of fieldwork were carried out (2014-2016) in order to identify the building sequence of the citadel and establish an absolute chronology of events.



Abstract ;
Özet (translated by O. Usta) ;
Chapter 1: Introduction ;

Part 1 The fortification of the citadel: the written sources ;
Building and re-building: a summary of events ;
Chapter 2: Edessa and its fortifications in Byzantine times (6th-11th centuries) (N. Zorzi) ;
Chapter 3: The citadels and the city walls in the Syriac sources (E. Fiori) ;
Chapter 4: Edessa in Armenian sources (T.L. Andrews) ;
Chapter 5: The citadel of al-Ruhā’ in the Arabic sources: an overview ;
Chapter 6: The fortifications of Edessa in medieval Latin sources (D. Pringle) ;
Chapter 7: Ruhā in the Persian sources: an elusive presence (S. Cristoforetti) ;
Chapter 8: The citadel of Urfa in the Ottoman written sources (O. Usta) ;

Part 2 The inscriptions from the citadel ;
Chapter 9: Notes on some Greek inscriptions from Edessa (N. Zorzi) ;
Chapter 10: The Arabic inscriptions of the citadel of al-Ruhā’ (Urfa/Şanlıurfa) (R. Giunta) ;

Part 3 The fortification of the citadel: the material evidence ;
The archaeological analysis ;
Chapter 11: The material evidence: Period 1 (post 3rd-6th centuries?) ;
Chapter 12: The material evidence: Period 2 (post 6th-11th centuries?) ;
Chapter 13: The material evidence: Period 3 (late 11th-12th centuries?) ;
Chapter 14: The material evidence: Period 4 (13th-14th centuries) ;
Chapter 15: The material evidence: Period 5 (15th century) ;
Chapter 16: The material evidence: Period 6 (16th century) ;
Chapter 17: The material evidence: Period 7 (17th century) ;
Chapter 18: The material evidence: Periods 8 (18th-19th centuries) and 9 (post Ottoman to the present) ;
Chapter 19: The masonry typology (with Technical Notes by J.-Cl. Bessac) ;
Chapter 20: Conclusions ;

Plates ;
Appendix ;

About the Author

Cristina Tonghini (PhD, SOAS, London) is an archaeologist specialising in the Arab world during the Islamic period. Her publications concern the Islamic pottery production of the Levant, the fortified architecture of the Eastern Mediterranean and, more recently, landscape archaeology in Iraq. She teaches Islamic Archaeology at the Università Ca’ Foscari of Venice.


'Tonghini effectively sheds much light on the technological development of military architecture, principally across the 7th to 15th centuries, during which time Urfa served as a strategic strongpoint in the continual tussle between different powers. Certainly this study helps fill notable gaps in our knowledge of Urfa and the citadel’s role, particularly as regards such issues as the potential impact of Armenian master-builders, and the previously littleknown importance of Mamluk influence on the citadel’s construction.' – Paul Newson (2023): Medieval Archaeology vol 67.1