The huge works of levelling made at the beginning of the archaic Old Syrian period, in the years around 2000 BC, in order to regularize the inner surface of the site, freeing it from the certainly imposing ruins of the destruction of the end of the IIIrd millennium BC, and to obtain earth for the construction of the defensive ramparts, which are in fact rich in debris, pottery, and ashes of the late Early Syrian period, have almost completely cancelled the remains of the mature Early Syrian period – the age of the Royal Archives – and of the Late Early Syrian period, between 2400 and 2000 BC. Yet, it is possible to reconstruct, at least in some aspect, the urban pattern of Early Syrian Ebla, in part on the base of evidence from the State Archives, and in part on the base of basic, albeit partial, archaeological data.
Thus, in the Archives Age Ebla certainly had the same extension of 56 hectares it had in the Old Syrian period, was surrounded by a massive mudbrick fortification, and, inside, was probably divided into four quarters, with an overall pattern, therefore, non too different from that of the later Old Syrian town.
The Acropolis of Tell Mardikh, approximately located in the middle of the settlement of the Archives Age, was quite likely almost entirely occupied by the Royal Palace G, stretching also over part of the Lower Town with some very important sector, like the Administrative Quarter and the Audience Court, where the king received in public audiences. By the end of the Archive Age, on the western edge of the Acropolis, a large temple was built, the Red Temple.
In the Lower Town, at the foot of the hillock of the Acropolis, we identified, to the North, a multifunction building, devoted to the preparation of food, and to handicraft productions – Building P4 – and to the South a large chapel, close to the Royal Palace, characterized by a wide niche with recesses, with a beautiful painted decoration with geometric motifs, possibly related with Ishtar’s cult. Always in the Lower Town, but to the East, quite close to the fortification wall, there was the monumental Temple of the Rock, also related, according what can be inferred from the textual evidence, with Kura’s Gate, probably standing in the same place as the Steppe Gate of the Old Syrian period.
In the late Early Syrian period, after the destruction of 2300 BC, the evidence at hand is much more faint, as the evidence of cuneiform texts is missing, and as many ruins of the town destroyed in 2000 BC were removed. Yet, there certainly was some continuity in the location of the temples, possibly of the main ones of the town, in the areas previously occupied by the Temple of the Rock in the Lower Town South-East and by the Red Temple, on the west edge of the Acropolis, but precisely the Acropolis was largely abandoned, while the Royal Palace (Sector P North) was built in the Lower Town North, in the region later on occupied by the Northern Palace of the Old Syrian period.