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037. Is, also known as Hit (ancient: Hit)



Al-Anbar Province. Approximately one kilometer southwest of the outskirts of the modern city of Hit. On the right bank of the Euphrates.

Dates: Old Babylonian (circa 1800 BC) to modern times

A town famous in ancient times for its bitumen springs (“pitch”).

The name is first encountered in Old Babylonian texts in the Mari letters, although it may be mentioned in Akkadian times with the name Tuttul. In Middle and Neo-Assyrian texts, (circa 1100-600 BC),  it is listed as making contributions to the capital, and among other towns on the Euphrates which functioned as frontier fortresses for Assyria. The town is famous for its bitumen, then used in building as a waterproof lining, and to caulk boats.

Herodotus mentions Hit as the source of bitumen used by Nebuchadnezzar for his architectural activities at Babylon, and this association is further reinforced by the relationship between its name and the Akkadian word for bitumen “Ittu”.

The town in modern times continues to produce bitumen as well as salt and quarried stone. While bitumen was valued in antiquity, it is ironic that no one then had a clue of the modern oil wealth bitumen springs hinted at.

 



 

 







Latitude
  33° 37' 44.4000"
 
  33.629° N
Longitude
  42° 47' 34.7999"
  42.793º E
   
UTM x
  295286.8377917964
UTM y
  3723205.651556
Zone
  38N
   
MGRS
  38SKN9528623205
   

GoogleEarth satellite view
of ancient Hit (external
resource)