Episode 44. Sophie Cluzan: Votive statues from Mari: transcript

0:13  JT

Hello. And welcome to the Thin End of the Wedge, the podcast where experts from around the world share new and interesting stories about life in the ancient Middle East. My name is Jon. Each episode I talk to friends and colleagues, and get them to explain their work in a way we can all understand.

0:32  JT

Archaeologists speak of objects having lives of their own. The lifespan of the object from its manufacture, through use and possible re-use, to eventual disposal and retrieval, is its “biography”. This idea takes on a special relevance in the case of worshipper statues. These small figures were donated by individuals to temples. We think they’re also representations of those individuals. What was the life of a statue like, and how did it relate to that of their donor?

1:13  JT

The worshipper statue phenomenon is known from ancient Iraq of course. But the city of Mari in Syria shared many cultural similarities with its eastern cousins, and it’s there that we focus for this episode. The Mari statues have unique features: what do they tell us?

1:34  JT

Our guest is an expert in the archaeology of the ancient Middle East, particularly Syria. And she has researched extensively on the statues from Mari. Much of that work is still in press, so we’re fortunate to be given an early look at some of her results.

1:50  JT

So get yourself a cup of tea, make yourself comfortable. And let’s meet today’s guest.

2:04  JT

Hello, and welcome to Thin End of the Wedge. Thank you for joining us.

2:09  SC

Hello, Jon. Thank you for having me on the Thin End of the Wedge. I am delighted to join you today.

2:17  JT

Could you tell us please: who are you, and what do you do?

2:22  SC

I am Sophie Cluzan. I am a curator in the Musée du Louvre in the Near Eastern department. I was trained in Near Eastern archaeology at Ecole du Louvre and at Université la Sorbonne, and as well as in classical and dialect Arabic, at National Institute for Oriental Languages in Paris. So currently, I am a curator in the Louvre Museum in the department of ancient Near East, and I’m responsible for Syrian Lebanese, Palestinian and Cypriot antiquities, since we have a special kind, you know, of repartition [division] of collections, depending on our museum.

3:08  SC

As a curator, of course, I am involved in many programs concerning the collections and the museum in itself, like arranging new rooms, programs of restoration, exhibitions, training, teaching, etc. So far, I devoted a lot of my time to international partnership, mainly in Syria and in Lebanon, where I had the chance to conduct different programs concerning heritage. Being a curator, this is one main orientation, of course. So concerning the museum’s collection, sites, restoration preservation, but as well as scientific programs also. So I conducted an excavation around Damascus with a Syrian colleague of the direction of antiquities Syria. We had three sites from the third and second Millennium that we excavated for a while. Unfortunately, as you may understand, this program is now closed or waiting to be opened again. It is an very important area. quite unknown, though, until now. So it was very, very, very exciting and very interesting. So scientific programs, as I said, like excavations, of course studies and research as a whole and training of young Syrian or Lebanese colleagues. This is mainly what I do.

4:42  JT

Today we’re going to talk about votive statues, and particularly votive statues from Mari. Maybe we could start with a little background about what these statues are, please?

4:54  SC

Yes, this term votive statues, maybe unproper [improper] in a way. So far, I am still working on the proper definition or proper definitions, plural, of these objects. As you know, statuary appears very early in the Near East during the Pre-pottery Neolithic A, during the tenth millennium, more or less. Notably in Gobekli Tepe, and in all this area of what is present day south of Turkey. So the status of these pieces of pre-pottery Neolithic is hard to understand, but we already get some representation of human beings that are very large and very expressive too. But it’s very difficult to understand what they stand for, and what was their role. So, they are not included so far in what we could call votive statues.

5:56  SC

So what we call votive statues, or statues of the temples in the Syro-Mesopotamian world is a wide corpus of human representations. Self-representation of individuals, of officials, or kings, that are brought by these donors to the temples of the different cities or states of the area. It is a very large phenomenon widespread in Syria and in Mesopotamia. And it is mostly representative of the Early Dynastic Period, beginning apparently as early as phase one of Early Dynastic Period, with a climax during the third phase of Early Dynastic Period, around 2500 and 2300 BC. Well, after this period, the phenomenon did not disappear, but it was more restricted and mainly linked to the rulers or governors of the cities or of the states. So this phenomenon of votive statues is the phenomenon of Early Dynastic statues brought to buildings that are called temples, mainly during the Early Dynastic Period. That is what we call votive statues.

7:21  JT

What’s so special about the votive statues from Mari?

7:25  SC

Mari statues are very peculiar in different ways. First of all, they are very numerous, Mari gave the highest number of votive statues that was ever retrieved in a city state of this period. So far, my inventory for these statues is 600 numbers. Though in some previous studies, this number 600 was given for the whole Syro-Mesopotamian world of Early Dynastic. So you see that Mari witnessed a large use of this phenomenon of votive statues in the temples of the city. This is the first fact. The second fact is also a numerical fact, sorry. Mari gave the highest number of inscribed statues. The highest amount in all this Early Dynastic world. This means that in Mari the identity of the people, their role and function, were underlined and were very important in this phenomenon, right? You send your statue to a temple of a divinity, and you give your name, you give your function, you give your lineage eventually. So we have all the society: officials, family of the king, the king himself, singers, musicians, and this is so really diverse. And we can approach we can understand the society of Mari in a better way than in other cities of the Early Dynastic period.

9:37  SC

I think this is a very important fact: the number of statues and the number of inscribed statues. This really distinguished Mari. Most of the statues of Mari, moreover, were found in three temples. Mari is very well known for having been a very religious city during Early Dynastic time. Why do I say so? Because it has a lot of temples. It has many, many temples. Most of them are grouped in an area of the city: nearby the palace in the centre of the city. And three other temples are outside of this religious core of Mari. And these are the temples where we found the majority of the statues. This is the three temples dedicated to three forms of Ishtar. We have male Ishtar, outside of the core of the city, on the outskirts of the city nearby the western gate of the city linked to the wall of the city. And the other two Ishtar forms, which have geographical names. Ishtar of Bishri. Bishri is a mountain now west of Mari quite far, but at the walking distance. And the Ishtar of the Poplar Grove. We don’t know exactly what it means. These two goddesses were named before Ishtarat and Ninni-ZAZA. So if you want to refer to Andre Parrot’s publication about the temples of Mari, the three temples, you should look at Ninni-ZAZA and Ishtarat and not Ishtar of Bishri or Ishtar of Poplar Grove.

8:10  SC

So these three temples being the temples of three forms of Ishtar, a very important goddess in the history of Mari at all periods of its occupation. These three goddesses collected most of the statues of the kingdom. And this is very interesting. When you go into the detail of the statues themselves, you realise that they are really individualised. So it goes what I said about the importance of identity through inscriptions. They’re really individualised, though some features, of course, are stylised or common features, like the shape of the body, you know, the costume, or the gesture, and the position. But despite this stylised features or cultural, aesthetical choices, the statues are really individualised also. And you have real portraits of real people that you can understand. So this is also very important. And when you compare all the statues of Mari to another group, like the first group, which was found in the 30s, by Henry Frankfurt in the Diyala in Khafajeh, you see a real difference in Khajajeh. You have very standardised representations of individuals. If you look at Mari statues, you see the diversity of the people and the diversity of their portraits, their own features, and also of their position and of their position in the societies, titles, etc. So it’s a very diverse, it’s really individualised, it’s totally different.

12:43  JT

How could you describe for us what these statues look like? I mean, how big are they? Were they painted or decorated in some way? Were they dressed? Do they hold objects? How did people choose to represent themselves?

12:58  SC

As I said, there are common features, like the costume, even though there are some changes, sometimes, like the costumes or the shape of the body and the gesture. The men, for instance, stand and have clasped hands in front of their bellybutton. And they are what we think balded [bald] head, and they stand. Women are usually seated, and they have special costume covering all the body and also sometimes  the head, and they have special headdresses. So you have some common features, that you could also find in other city states. If you go to the south in Nippur, or Ur, or Tello, you can find the same kind of general layout of the statue.

13:57  SC

So this is how they look like today. This is what we find. But during my researches on Mari statues, I could go deeper into these questions. And I discovered that many many of the statues of Mari … and not only Mari, because then I went back to some other corpus, like the Ishtar corpus from Ashur … I discovered that many of them have special arrangement that can be used to put some details on the statues, some other features that were permanent or non-permanent, that could be changed or not this I don’t know so far. But I will give you some examples of this.

14:46  SC

One of the main arrangements I discovered that the statues in Mari as well as in Ashur, for instance, that looks nowadays balded heads have perforations in the ear canal. And they have a special arrangement also at the beginning of the belt in the temple near the ear. So this is clearly to put something on top of the head. Again, I don’t know if it was permanent or temporary, depending on some occasions–on religious rituals … I don’t know. But what we think were balded people going to the temple–and you know that we sometimes relinked nudity and bald head to ritual attitude–they were not bald heads. Or not always bald heads. They were covered.

15:42  SC

And another example of this is some of the statues of Mari are really interesting in that sense. Some men have deep incisions on their cheeks that are parallel from right to left, it’s exactly the same, and very deep incisions coming from the ear or terminal going down to the middle of the cheek, to the chin. And if you look to the iconography of Mari, in reliefs, or in shell inlays, as well as other kingdoms of the period, you see that the design of the incision on these statues is exactly the design of the part of the helmet, which covers the cheek in all the military representations. And these statues also have, as I mentioned before, perforation in the ear canal. So they were head covered with a helmet, obviously. And the helmet was also covering the cheek as we see in many reliefs or shell inlays.

16:47  SC

So going back to the statue in the temple, we used to say that they are just worshippers going to the deity in prayer. They were not. They were worshippers, maybe, yes. But they were military personnel, for instance, and they were going to the temple in their role, in their function. So the temple was not imposing an homogeneity to the whole. It was really individualised. And really, we have to think of the statues not as worshippers in a religious ritual only. We have to think of people, real people, with function. And they go to the temple with the signs of their function. And they stand in front of the divinity–if this is the role of the statues–with their identity and their function. They are not simple worshipers all the same. So it’s a society which is represented.

17:45  JT

How do these statues work, then? You have an individual. There’s a representation of that individual. It’s placed in the temple. But what does it do there or what happens to it?

17:57  SC

This is a very important and difficult question, Jon. We should go back maybe to the context of the findings. In Mari mainly all the statues were found in the three temples, as I mentioned before. They were found in the level of destruction of Mari at the end of Early Dynastic Period by the Akkadian Empire expanding itself to the north and west. So they were found in a destruction level. They were many found in the holiest places of the temple, if we follow the usual analysis of these temples of Early Dynastic period. That is another issue, very difficult. But if we follow the usual analysis of these buildings the statues in Mari were found many, like 85% of them, or 95% of them in each temple, they were found in the holiest place. And this holiest place is at the end of the temple. It is closed. It has only one or two entrances, and it’s very small, it’s not large, and it’s not long. It is really small, like a remote place at the end of the temple.

19:10  SC

So there were many found in these kinds of rooms. What does it mean? Does it mean that these rooms are the holiest places because we found the statues and because as some of them are inscribed, dedicated to a deity, this was the holiest place? Or were they stored in this room, and sometimes taken out of this room to perform some rituals, or to participate in some ritual inside the temple in the main room just before the small what we call holiest room? Or outside of the temple and participating outside of the temple at the door of the temple? You know that doors are very important outside of the temple. Or in the city? Or maybe even in the territory of the state?

19:59  SC

We don’t know how they were used. Some people say that they were put on benches, because sometimes in these rooms, benches were built along the longer walls of these elongated rooms. Some people said that they were put on the benches of this room and they were facing or in presence of the divinity herself or himself. This is mainly based on the reconstruction of the temple of Ashur by Walter Andrae. And the well known image of the inside of this holiest place with benches and all the statues and the altar for the divinity. But this is not what we found in the excavation. Nor in Ashur, and nor in Mari and nor in any other site. We never found the statues in the place where they were located. And this maybe is also because they were not used in just one position, one location. They were sometimes brought, as I said, outside and there were many stored in a place, but ritually used in other places.

21:12  SC

In Mari there is one sign of this is the importance of ancient restoration. The statues obviously were really moved from place to place, and a lot of accidents occurred. And they were restored. And the Ebih-Il statue that everyone knows, is restored in very amazing ways. And really amazing and interesting, but it has been restored. So it means that this statue was not put in a bench and not touched like we could do now in churches or in museums. I think they were really moved and used in different ways. This will be difficult to demonstrate apart from the restoration that is just proving that the statues were moved. This is sure. Because if you think that they were in this holiest places, let’s call them, as we do usually, and put on benches, these rooms were so small that nobody could access them. So why should they be broken at some point? I think it’s not coherent.

22:20  SC

Moreover, some of them are so numerous in Mari that I don’t see how they could all stand in four benches that we had. But to be correct, I have to say that in Mari we have traces of statues in benches. This is sure. Outside of the temple, for instance. Outside of Ninhursag temple, we have a bench with the rest [remains] of bases of two statues. So they could be put on some benches on some occasion. But it doesn’t mean that they were always exhibited in such a way facing the divinity as we would think you know, in our imagination.

22:59  JT

A peculiarity of the male statues is that some of them are walking. Why is that?

23:06  SC

The male statues of Mari are mainly standing. So far, I could find only 3 or 4% of them that are seated. The women are more often seated. So men are standing and they are walking. So they have their hands clasped in a spiral way, which is also very interesting. And they walk; the left foot in front and the right in the rear. And they walk. And this is very peculiar and very specific. So far, I found only one example in Khafajeh of a walking statue of the same period. And frankly, I must say it could come from Mari. It is exactly a Mari statue. So this also raises the question of how the statues were transported from one city to another, because the phenomenon was widespread. So you can imagine someone going to have Khafajeh from Mari and putting his representation self-presentation in the temple of Khafajeh. It could happen very easily. But there is only one example in Khafajeh of a walking man. And he looks like not the Khafajeh statues, but like the Mari statues. Not only because he’s walking, but also from the general features and the style of the head and of the face. You know, the smile and the eyes, which are very peculiar and specific to the Mari corpus. So there is only one example and two small bases in Khafajeh also that I found where the left foot is in front. They belonged to a former statue that was walking and obviously a man, because women when they stand are always standing and not walking. So this is very specific to Mari.

25:00  SC

What we know from the sources, the textual sources of Mari, concerning the religion is that there were a lot of processions in Mari in the city, on different occasions, and depending on the religious calendar of the city. What I can say so far is that this walking attitude must be related to the fact that the people were walking in the procession. And that they represent themselves in these buildings dedicated to deities with this ritual attitude that they have in the social, political and religious ritual of procession. Because you know that at this time, it’s obviously mixed. It’s religious, but it’s also political, and it’s also social. It’s all mixed. And so there were representing themselves in this very attitude of the procession that they were certainly performing in the reality.

25:59  SC

So this is very interesting. And this raises the question of what was the territory of these processions. Inside the city, between the different temples, this is mentioned by the texts. But what is not mentioned is were the processions also going outside of the city in the periphery, or in the territory of the city state? As you know, in Early Dynastic time, territory is really important. And you have to maintain your territory and this is a political and social and religious issue that you have to make it very coherent to defend it. And sometimes to expand it in order to preserve the core of the state that is a city. So the territory is very important. And so, one can think of these processions also going as political and religious processions outside of the city in the territory.

27:02  SC

And if you go back to the temples where the statues were stored or presented, as I said, two of the three temples where they are mainly stored are related to geography. You have Ishtar of Bishri, and Bishri is you follow the Euphrates River, you go north and west. And then on your left hand side, you find the Bishri mountain. And it’s in the walking distance. And this temple, the Bishri temple, is a temple which are among the three temples of Ishtar. It is the temple which had the highest number of statues, of male statues, officials, people naming themselves and naming the function and the name of the king and whose reign they were official. And they were many stored in this temple of the Bishri mountain. So does it mean that they were going to the Bishri mountain as a territorial, political, and religious procession? It could be. And so they represent themselves doing so. This is possible.

28:13  SC

And the second temple, as I said, is the Poplar Grove and it gave less statues than the Bishri, but it’s also related to a location, a place. And this Poplar Grove is certainly outside of the city. So also it could be you know, related to the procession of the kingdom going to some specific places in a political and religious and military purpose. If you go to the textual sources from Ebla, that are very inspiring as you know, for Mari in Early Dynastic time, they had such processions with the king, on diverse occasions of the year. They had such processions and the territory of these processions, which has been studied recently, goes to the south to Hama, which is quite far, and to the north very far too. So it’s a wide territory for procession, for ritual of dead kings or for rituals during enthronement, for instance.

29:20  SC

So they were walking and going very far, to reach some places that were related religiously, and maybe socially to the groups of people living in the city. And to the groups of people or officials around the king. Because we have to think of maybe of different groups and parts of the society forming a whole. So it could be in Mari, for instance, some of them their ancestors were originating from the Bishri area, for instance. So they were going there in a political, religious and social and ancestral ritual to perform something.

30:00  SC

So I studied the territory of Ebla. And I tried to draw a territory around Mari in the same way, even though it’s not mentioned in the text, I must say. It is not. But people are walking in the temple. So it means something. I tried to draw this territory. And what is very interesting is that if I just copy-paste the territory of Ebla, around Mari, you can reach the North, which is the north, of course, of the kingdom of Mari. And we know this, so it’s not a surprise. And you can reach places like Gebelet el Beda, where there’s a very specific place with no occupation, no building, no houses, nothing else than a huge terrace, where were found three important sculptures: one statue and two reliefs. The statue is three metres high. And the statue depicts a king of Early Dynastic time or early Akkadian time. And it is exactly the design of the king we have in Mari with Ishqi-Mari, holding a mace head. So this is one of the things I could demonstrate also that Ishqi-Mari in the temple of Ishtar is not just a worshipper. He is acting like victorious king, holding the mace of the deity in front of his deity. So it’s exactly the same iconography that you find in the two reliefs and the statue in Jebeletel-Beda. And it’s within the territory if you accept that I draw this territory from a copy-paste from Ebla sources. And it has a sense and what makes sense, Jon, also is that if you look at the iconography of the seals in this area, the north-east of Mari, north-north-east, which is included in its territory. Depending maybe on the year or the month, because you know that things were changing a lot. But it was within the boundary of its territories.

32:07  SC

The iconography of the seals of Beydar, for instance, witness the importance of processions. What Pierre Amiet called before the discovery of the Beydar seals. And that is very interesting, because he had a good sense of iconography, as you know. He called this the Syrian ritual, all these processions you see on the seals. And this is very peculiar and specific to this area. You see scenes with a lot of people walking, with chariots or not. And the chariots sometimes look like carrying statues of people. So it’s very specific of the iconography of the seals of this area. And it goes perfectly well with the idea of these people walking from Mari, going to the north.

32:56  SC

This is, I think, why the statues are walking. And beyond, does it mean? Do the people present their self-representation as walkers because they were? Or did the statues were also transported during the procession? For instance, if these people were dead, they still participated in the procession? Or were the statues produced on the occasion of a procession? With a specific occasion like an enthronement? And maybe that is why they name theirselves, their function and the name of the king. So these are all hypotheses, of course. And this is specific to Mari. And it goes well with what Pierre Amiet called the Syrian ritual of north east of Mesopotamia.

33:46  JT

Would you say then, that if these statues are related to processions, and male statues are walking because they’re taking part in their possessions, that women therefore didn’t take part in these important rituals of state? And female statues are sitting, because the women sat somewhere in the city watching the procession?

34:07  SC

Yes, this is what I think. Because females are standing sometimes, but they are not walking. And they have very special attire, elongated head dress and special clothes. And we know these women from other iconographical sources of Mari, like the shell inlays. They are represented. And they are always performing very special things with offering stands in the hands, something like that. So they seem to have a very special role in the society and maybe in the palace, maybe related to the family of the king. And they have a special role in the temple, because they were always standing without moving. They are really formal and very standardised or so. And they are very often seated, like enthroned in a way, with very special throne with zoomorphic feet for the stool. They were not walking. So does it mean that they were not participating in the possession? It could be. Does it mean that they were welcoming the procession after the procession was performed? So they were sitting and waiting, and they had very high and specific role, staying in the city and welcoming the procession when it’s back, or just looking at the position when the position was in the city? We don’t know. But they have a role and the function that are really different from the male ones.

35:47  JT

You mentioned the possible function of a statue to participate in the ritual after the death of the owner. So when would the intended life of a statue end? And what would happen to it once it no longer served its original function?

36:02  SC

Yeah, this is also a difficult question. You have different cases. What we found in the excavation, to be back to the context of the findings, we found some hordes of statues, as you know, like in Khafajeh. It’s the most famous one also, because it was the first one. And we find some groups of statues that were obviously discarded from the temple … from their use, not from the temple; from their use, at some point, on the occasion of the renovation of a temple, for instance. So they were grouped and put below the floor, the new floor in a hole. This is one possibility. So this doesn’t mean that the statues were not active anymore. I don’t think so. As you know, all the statues were thought to be vivid and active and performating [performing] in the temple. And I think that the statues once they are brought into the temple, they belong to the god. And I don’t think that you can take them out of the temple. So they remain in the temple, in holes, for instance. But it means that they were not in use anymore.

37:20  SC

Does it mean that these people were dead in that case? Or does it mean that these people for some reason were rejected from the society, but they kept their statues in the temple, because it belonged to the god of their city. So you cannot, you cannot remove what belongs to god. Maybe some people were dead, so statues were of no need. So it means that the statues were only used when the people were living. This is quite strange, in my opinion. Or was it because this group of people for any reason was rejected from the society and then that the statues were kept?

38:02  SC

I think we also have this in Mari. We have two very important statues of male Ishtar Temple, which is a temple linked to the kingship and to the power and the economical power of the city. And it’s a temple staging the kingship and the power of Mari and the economical power of Mari, due to the importance of materials that we found inside. So two very important statues of this temple of male Ishtar, namely, Ishqi-Mari, very important. And Ebih-Il, the nubanda, were marked at some point of the existence of the statues. I don’t mean of the existence of these two personalities, but of the statues. They were marked with the same sign incised on the forehead of the king: two lines, crossing lines, and two crossing lines also on the belly button of the nubanda. It’s exactly the same sign.

39:07  SC

And I had the nubanda Ebih-Il analysed at the laboratoires des musées de France, and we went through images of micro-topography. And we could see that as a stratigraphy of the surface of the statue at this very, very place of the bellybutton with this incision is you have the traces of polish, which is the end of the making of the statue. Then you have hammering, and then you have the two incisions, very deep and very clear and neat. And then it stops. So it means that after the first use of the statue, something happened and the people thought that they had to do this sign and to incise these two lines on this statue.

40:00  SC

And the same on the forehead of the king Ishqi-Mari. And these two statues were found at the same place in the temple. Well, outside of the temple. They have a special history. But this could lead us very, very far. It means that these two statues, it happened something to these two statues. Again, I don’t mean that it happened to the people themselves, to the personalities, but it happened to the objects. That at some point, the people of marine thought that they have to inform about this object, to give another information, on the shape of these two crossing lines on very specific parts of the statues.

40:42  SC

What does it mean? Does it mean that the objects were discarded, and they just, you know, marked them? So why aren’t the other statues of Mari marked in the same way? These are the only two statues? Or does it mean that something happened around these two personalities and their objects, their self-representations in the male Ishtar temple were marked, in order to express that something happened.

41:13  SC

If you go to the textual sources, and you consider this question of body marking, and not of statue marking, but body marking, we have no evidence of body marking during Early Dynastic time so far in the sources. But we have it in the Palaeo- Babylonian [Old Babylonian] sources. And then, since then. Usually marking the body is linked to negative approach of the identity of the person concerned by the marking. Like for slave, for instance, or for people brought to the temple to be given to the temple. And enemies also were marked like in Egypt at the same period of time. So marking the body was quite negative, according to these sources.

42:06  SC

So does it mean that these two statues were marked with this very sign? And we could also talk about this design, the two lines crossing lines? Does it mean that these two people were seen, you know, very negatively, after something happened in the kingdom? And this is the period of Mari which is really troubled. It’s just before the destruction by Akkad. So one can think of successions of people ruling the city and changing political events around the throne, and the officials around the kings. So it’s a very troubled period for Mari, just before its destruction. So does it mean that these two, Ishqi-Mari and Ebih-Il were seen as negative people, and so they were marked, and their statues were discarded from the temple? And note that they were not destroyed, because they are both intact. Though the nose of the king has been, you know, knocked down, this is hammered, and this is frequent. But they’re intact, so they were not destroyed. And that is why I relate this marking to Mari citizens or Mari new king or whatever. Because they respect the two objects that belong to Ishtar. They don’t destroy them, as will do the Akkadian Empire. And another idea concerning the discarding of these two people and their self-representation in the temple of the power of the kingship, as I said, is that they were not even destroyed by Akkad. So Akkad destroyed Mari in such a violent way that all the statues were smashed in 75 or 80 pieces; each of them, except Ishqi-Mari and Ebih-Il. So I assume that they were outside of the temple at the time when Akkad destroyed the city. And this is maybe also explaining the fact that they were marked and discarded at some point of the history of the kingdom itself. It’s an internal affair, I think.

44:21  SC

This is a way to think of how statues could be treated after their life in the temple. So they were put in holes for a reason we still have to understand. They were marked, because Ishqi-Mari and Ebih-Il are not the only two statues that are marked. I found so far two statues that are marked. One in Mari and another one in Tello that are marked on the top of the head, with sign that do recall cuneiform signs. So they were not alone to be treated in this way. And I found other occurrences in the Syro-Mesopotamian world. So does it mean that it’s a way to treat statues, I think, which is different from putting them in your hoard with respect, like the hoard of Khafajeh. If you accept the term, it does inscribe something on top of the image to say something. I don’t mean that it is an inscription, right? I mean, it does give an information on the object. And I think that this information on the object is related to the new statues of the personalities themselves, because it comes after the first use of the statues.

45:41  JT

How can we follow your work?

45:43  SC

Well, different articles. And we began this study with Ebih-Il. So there is an article in the journal Syria, dating from 2014. You can easily find it, it’s in a supplementum of Mari: Mari West and East. This is Ebih-Il. And the same year we had a catalogue of a small exhibition I made  in the Arab World Institute in Paris, with the title of–in English–Devoted to Ishtar. So I also mentioned this question. And now we have different volumes that are still under progress. One volume I edited on a workshop I organised in Vienna in 2016, but it is still at the Vienna editors. And it’s called Votive Deposits in the Syro-Mesopotamian World in Early Dynastic time. And I have a special article about marking the statues in this world. And I recall all the textual evidences that I mentioned here but there are more. We also have a volume that should come out very quickly edited by Pascal Butterlin, which is Religion in Mari City II, which is Early Dynastic Period of Mari. And we are preparing now a volume on religion in Mari in city III, which is the shakkanakku and Amorite period of Mari.

47:19  JT

Thank you very much.

47:21  SC

Thank you very much, Jon. It was a pleasure.

47:23  JT

I’d also like to thank our patrons: Tyler Russell, Enrique Jimenez, Jana Matuszak, Nancy Highcock, Jay C, Rune Rattenborg, Woodthrush, Elisa Rossberger, Mark Weeden, Jordi Mon Companys, Thomas Bolin, Joan Porter MacIver, John MacGinnis, Andrew George, Yelena Rakic, Michael Katsevman, Mend Mariwany, Kathryn Topper, Zach Rubin, Sabina Franke, Sophus Helle, Shai Gordin, Aaron Macks, Jonathan Stökl, Maarja Seire, Jaafar Jotheri, Morgan Hite, Chikako Watanabe, Mark McElwaine, Heather Baker, Sukanya Ramanujan, Laura Battini, Jonathan Blanchard Smith, Vanessa Richards, Kliment Ohr, TT, Christina Tsouparopoulou, Andrew Senior, Melanie Gross, Adam, Claire Weir, Marc Veldman, Bruno Biermann, Faimon Roberts, Kim Benzel, Maggie Justice, as well as those who prefer to remain anonymous.

48:31  JT

I really appreciate your support. It makes a big difference. Every penny received has contributed towards translations. Thanks of course to the lovely people who have worked on the translations on a voluntary basis or for well below the market rate. For Arabic, thanks in particular to Zainab Mizyidawi, as well as Lina Meerchyad and May Al-Aseel. For Turkish, thank you to Pinar Durgun and Nesrin Akan. TEW is still young, but I want to reach a sustainable level, where translators are given proper compensation for their hard work.

49:10  JT

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