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The uppermost layer on the site dates to the Seleucid-Roman period.
In the second half of the second millennium , Mari was still sufficiently important to be mentioned in the *Nuzi documents (horses and chariots were sent there), in recently found texts at *Ugarit ("Ishtar of Mari" in an alphabetic text, and in an epithet of another deity in a Hurrian text), and in the Egyptian geographical lists of Thutmosis .
However, the residents of Mari were western Semites, ultimately related to the Israelites and Arameans who first surface in the late second millennium but who are best known from the first.
In consequence, although there is no demonstrable direct connection with the history of ancient Israel as was once thought (see *Genesis and *Patriarchs), there are numerous linguistic, cultural, and social data from Mari that aid us in the study of ancient Israel and the Bible.
Mari (sometimes Maʾeri in the cuneiform sources) was located at Tell Ḥarīrī, at present some 1.5 mi.
(2.5 km.) west of the Euphrates, near Abu Kemal, around 15 mi. It was in an optimal position for contacts with the West and its location on the river artery, yet immediately adjacent to the desert, was decisive in the shaping of its fortune and character.
After an obscure period of two centuries (from which several economic texts and 32 inscribed liver models are known), Mari reached its final period of glory in the 18 century, Tukulti-Ninurta I conquered the meager settlement there and stationed a garrison in the city for a short time.
Of a unique category are the some 1,300 tablets containing lists of daily provisions for the palace, often summarized by month. The origins of the West Semitic, or "Amorite," dynasties are shrouded in darkness, though there are clues pointing to North Syria for the local line at Mari.
Though dealing only with "vegetarian" foodstuffs and beverages, they shed light on Solomon's "provisions for one day" and possibly also his monthly quantities (cf. Thus, the theophoric name element-Lim (perhaps derived from the word for "folk," "people"; cf. Leʾom) is found at both Aleppo, in the dynastic name Yarim-Lim, and Mari, in the royal names Yagid-Lim, Yahdun-Lim, and Zimri-Lim.
Within the palace complex, a jar came to light containing a "treasure" including a lapis lazuli bead with a votive inscription mentioning Mesannepada, founder of the First Dynasty at Ur.
This indicates a close contact between Mari and Ur at an early date, as do other finds from Mari, such as shell inlays essentially identical with those of the "Ur Standard" (war panel).