Tell

From Academic Kids

For the English verb "tell" see talking; for the poker term see Tell (poker) .

Tell or tall (Arabic) or tel (Hebrew; תל), meaning "hill" or "mound", is an archaeological site in the form of an earthen mound that results from the accumulation and subsequent erosion of material deposited by human occupation over long periods of time. A tell mostly consists of mudbrick or other architecture containing a high proportion of stone or loam as well as to a minor extent domestic refuse. The distribution of this phenomenon spans from the Indus valley in the east to southeastern Europe in the west.

The word is commonly used as a general term in archaeology, particularly in Near Eastern archaeology. It is also sometimes used in a toponym, that is, as part of a town or city name, the best known example being the city of Tel Aviv (Hebrew, "Hill of [the season] Spring"). A modern city is often located next to an ancient mound with a similar tell name, for example the city of Arad, Israel, is a few kilometers away from an ancient mound called Tel Arad.

Occasionally the word "tell" is misapplied to a site whose form does not warrant the designation. The site of Amarna in middle Egypt, frequently misnamed "Tell el-Amarna", is the best example of such an error.

The Turkish word for tell is "höyük", as in Çatalhöyük; also the Persian 'tepe' is common in Turkey. Toponyms indicating settlement mounds in the Balkans are "magoula" or "toumba" (because small tells can be confused with burial mounds) in Greece and Macedonia. The word "mogila" is used in Bulgaria and "magura" is used in Romania.


Template:Archaeology-stubde:Tell

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