Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Tells in Archaeology

  • Wendy MatthewsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1512

Introduction and Definition

Archaeological mounds form when activities and settlement were conducted at a site over time and sediment and material accumulation rates exceed those of truncation or erosion. In Southwest Asia an archaeological mound is called a “tell” in Arabic, “tepe” or “chogha” in Farsi, and “höyük” in Turkish. In the ancient Near East, mounds may vary in size from c. 30 m to 1 km in diameter and in height from c. 1 to >43 m (Fig. 1). The archaeological investigation of these mounds presents a range of major challenges: (1) low mounds and the bases of mounds may be masked by several meters of sediments from rivers, hill-wash, or erosion; (2) early levels may be buried below many meters of later settlement and difficult to access; (3) materials may be recycled and redeposited throughout a mound by successive construction and digging of pits or graves, for example; (4) with shifting settlement patterns and variations in construction and leveling, mounds are not uniform...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologySchool of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of ReadingReadingUK