Hama (Ancient Hamath)
The Aramean city-state of Hamath was one of the major features in the
biblical accounts of the advance of the Assyrians.
Indeed, Hamath and its kings are mentioned on several historical
sources from the Assyiran Empire, most famously on the ‘Kurkh Stela’ which
records the Battle of Qarqur in 853BC (See Qarqur for further
details of this historic battle).
The tell of Hama was excavated by the Danes in the 1930s. They uncovered a long sequence of occupation going back to the 4th millenium BC, continuing though the Bronze Ages (3rd and 2nd millennia BC), the Iron Age (1st millennium BC) and the Classical and Medieval periods from the 3rd Century BC through to the Mongol invasion of AD 1260. The resulting ‘Hama Sequence’ is one of the lynchpins of Syrian archaeology, giving a chronological structure and a type-site for the region.
The city today is famous for its Roman water wheels, or nouria, which lead up to aqueducts. The system was undoubtedly designed to transport the abundant waters of the Orontes to the fields surrounding the town, where irrigated agricultural industries would have flourished, as they do today.
Last modified 20/05/2002