The Ebla tablets are a collection of as many as 1,800 complete clay tablets, 4,700 fragments, and many thousands of minor chips found in the palace archives  of the ancient city of Ebla, Syria. The tablets were discovered by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team in 1974–75  during their excavations at the ancient city at Tell Mardikh.  The tablets, which were found in situ on collapsed shelves, retained many of their contemporary clay tags to help reference them. They all date to the period between c. 2500 BC and the destruction of the city c. 2250 BC.  Today, the tablets are held in museums in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Idlib.
The tablets were discovered just where they had fallen when their wooden shelves burned in the final conflagration of "Palace G". The archive was kept in orderly fashion in two small rooms off a large audience hall (with a raised dais at one end); one repository contained only bureaucratic economic records on characteristic round tablets, the other, larger room held ritual and literary texts, including pedagogical texts for teaching young scribes. Many of the tablets had not previously been baked, but when all were preserved by the fire that destroyed the palace, their storage method served to fire them almost as thoroughly as if in a kiln: they had been stored upright in partly recessed wooden shelves, rectos facing outward, leaning backwards at an angle so that the incipit of each tablet could be seen at a glance, and separated from one another by fragments of baked clay. The burning shelving pancaked – collapsing in place and preserving the order of the tablets. 
Two languages appeared in the writing on the tablets: Sumerian, and a previously unknown language that used the Sumerian cuneiform script (Sumerian logograms or "Sumerograms") as a phonetic representation of the locally spoken Ebla language.  The latter script was initially identified as proto-Canaanite by professor Giovanni Pettinato, who first deciphered the tablets, because it predated the Semitic languages of Canaan, like Ugaritic and Hebrew. Pettinato later retracted the designation and decided to call it simply "Eblaite", the name by which it is known today. 
The purely phonetic use of Sumerian logograms marks a momentous advance in the history of writing.  From the earlier system developed by Sumerian scribes, employing a mixed use of logograms and phonetic signs, the scribes at Ebla employed a reduced number of signs from the existing systems entirely phonetically, both the earliest example of transcription (rendering sounds in a system invented for another language) and a major simplifying step towards "reader friendliness" that would enable a wider spread of literacy in palace, temple and merchant contexts.
The tablets provide a wealth of information on Syria and Canaan in the Early Bronze Age,  and include the first known references to the "Canaanites", "Ugarit", and "Lebanon".  The contents of the tablets reveal that Ebla was a major trade center. A main focus was economic records, inventories recording Ebla's commercial and political relations with other Levantine cities and logs of the city's import and export activities. For example, they reveal that Ebla produced a range of beers, including one that appears to be named "Ebla", for the city.  Ebla was also responsible for the development of a sophisticated trade network system between city-states in northern Syria. This system grouped the region into a commercial community, which is clearly evidenced in the texts. 
There are king lists for the city of Ebla, royal ordinances, edicts, and treaties. There are gazetteers listing place names, including a version of a standardized place-name list that has also been found at Abu Salabikh (possibly ancient Eresh) where it was dated to c. 2600 BC.  The literary texts include hymns and rituals, epics, and proverbs.
Many tablets include both Sumerian and Eblaite inscriptions with versions of three basic bilingual word-lists contrasting words in the two languages. This structure has allowed modern scholars to clarify their understanding of the Sumerian language, at that time still a living language, because until the discovery of the tablet corpus there were no bilingual dictionaries with Sumerian and other languages, leaving pronunciation and other phonetic aspects of the language unclear. The only tablets at Ebla that were written exclusively in Sumerian are lexical lists, probably for use in training scribes.  The archives contain thousands of copybooks, lists for learning relevant jargon, and scratch pads for students, demonstrating that Ebla was a major educational center specializing in the training of scribes.  Shelved separately with the dictionaries, there were also syllabaries of Sumerian words with their pronunciation in Eblaite.
The application of the Ebla texts to specific places or people in the Bible occasioned controversy and focused on whether the tablets made references to, and thus confirmed, the existence of Abraham, David and Sodom and Gomorrah among other Biblical references.  The sensationalist claims were made by Giovanni Pettinato and were coupled with delays in the publication of the complete texts, and it soon became an unprecedented academic crisis.  The political context of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict also added fire to the debate, turning it into a debate about the "proof" for Zionist claims to Palestine. 
However, much of the initial media excitement about supposed Eblaite connections with the Bible, based on preliminary guesses and speculations by Pettinato and others, is now widely deplored as generated by "exceptional and unsubstantiated claims" and "great amounts of disinformation that leaked to the public".  The present consensus is that Ebla's role in biblical archaeology, strictly speaking, is minimal. 
According to the Bible, Admah was one of the five cities of the Vale of Siddim. It was destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. It is supposed by William F. Albright to be the same as the "Adam" of Joshua 3:16. The location of Admah is unknown, although Bryant G. Wood a proponent of the southern theory for the Cities of the Plain identified the site with Numeira, but later changed it to Khirbat al-Khanazir Jordan, although it was only a cemetery during the Bronze Age and proponents of the northern theory for the Cities of the Plain identify the site with Tel Nimrin, Jordan.
Resheph was a deity associated with plague, either war or strong protection, and sometimes thunder in ancient Canaanite religion. The originally Eblaite and Canaanite god was then more famously adopted into ancient Egyptian religion in the late Bronze Age during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, also becoming associated with horses and chariots.
Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh. Ebla was an important center throughout the 3rd millennium BC and in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. Its discovery proved the Levant was a center of ancient, centralized civilization equal to Egypt and Mesopotamia and ruled out the view that the latter two were the only important centers in the Near East during the Early Bronze Age. The first Eblaite kingdom has been described as the first recorded world power.
Cuneiform is a logo-syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions which form its signs. Cuneiform was originally developed to write the Sumerian language of southern Mesopotamia. Along with Egyptian hieroglyphs, it is one of the earliest writing systems.
Mari was an ancient Semitic city-state in modern-day Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates river western bank, some 120 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. It flourished as a trade center and hegemonic state between 2900 BC and 1759 BC. As a purposely-built city, the existence of Mari was related to its position in the middle of the Euphrates trade routes; this position made it an intermediary between Sumer in the south and the Eblaite kingdom and the Levant in the west.
Eblaite, or Palaeo-Syrian, is an extinct East Semitic language used during the 3rd millennium BCE by the populations of Northern Syria. It was named after the ancient city of Ebla, in modern western Syria. Variants of the language were also spoken in Mari and Nagar. According to Cyrus H. Gordon, although scribes might have spoken it sometimes, Eblaite was probably not spoken much, being rather a written lingua franca with East and West Semitic features.
Ancient Semitic religion encompasses the polytheistic religions of the Semitic peoples from the ancient Near East and Northeast Africa. Since the term Semitic itself represents a rough category when referring to cultures, as opposed to languages, the definitive bounds of the term "ancient Semitic religion" are only approximate.
Emar is an archaeological site in Aleppo Governorate, northern Syria. It sits in the great bend of the mid-Euphrates, now on the shoreline of the man-made Lake Assad near the town of Maskanah. It has been the source of many cuneiform tablets, making it rank with Ugarit, Mari and Ebla among the most important archaeological sites of Syria. In these texts, dating from the 14th century BC to the fall of Emar in 1187 BC, and in excavations in several campaigns since the 1970s, Emar emerges as an important Bronze Age trade center, occupying a liminal position between the power centers of Upper Mesopotamia and Anatolia-Syria. Unlike other cities, the tablets preserved at Emar, most of them in Akkadian and of the thirteenth century BC, are not royal or official, but record private transactions, judicial records, dealings in real estate, marriages, last wills, formal adoptions. In the house of a priest, a library contained literary and lexical texts in the Mesopotamian tradition, and ritual texts for local cults.
Irkab-Damu, was the king (Malikum) of the first Eblaite kingdom, whose era saw Ebla's turning into the dominant power in the Levant.
Akshak was a city of ancient Sumer, situated on the northern boundary of Akkad, sometimes identified with Babylonian Upi. Its exact location is uncertain. Classical writers located it where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are closest together and it was mentioned along with Kish in early records. Archaeologists in the 1900s placed Akshak at the site of Tel Omar where a pair of sites straddles the Tigris, but that turned out to be Seleucia when it was excavated by LeRoy Waterman of the American Schools of Oriental Research, though a fragment with the name Akshak was found there. Michael C. Astour placed it on the Tigris, on what is now the southern outskirts of Baghdad.
The low tells at Abu Salabikh, around 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the site of ancient Nippur in Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate, Iraq mark the site of a small Sumerian city state of the mid third millennium BCE, with cultural connections to the cities of Kish, Mari and Ebla. Its contemporary name is uncertain: perhaps this was Eresh. Kesh was suggested by Thorkild Jacobsen before excavations began. The Euphrates was the city's highway and lifeline; when it shifted its old bed, in the middle third millennium BCE, the city dwindled away. Only eroded traces remain on the site's surface of habitation after the Early Dynastic Period. The site consists of several mounds, the 12 hectare wall enclosed Main, the 10 hectare Uruk, the West, and the 8 hectare South.
Giovanni Pettinato was a paleographer of writings from the ancient Near East, specializing in the Eblaite language, His major contributions to the field include the deciphering of the Eblaite script, discovered by Paolo Matthiae in 1974–75.
Armi, was an important Bronze Age city-kingdom during the late third millennium BC located in northern Syria, or in southern Anatolia, Turkey, at the region of Cilicia.
The Amorites were an ancient Northwest Semitic-speaking people from the Levant who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city-states in existing locations, such as Isin, Larsa and later notably Babylon, which was raised from a small town to an independent state and a major city. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to the Amorites, their principal deity and an Amorite kingdom.
The Kish civilization or Kish tradition is a time period corresponding to the early East Semitic era in Mesopotamia and the Levant. Coined by Ignace Gelb, the epoch began in the early 4th millennium BC. The tradition encompasses the sites of Ebla and Mari in the Levant, Nagar in the north, and the proto-Akkadian sites of Abu Salabikh and Kish in central Mesopotamia which constituted the Uri region as it was known to the Sumerians. The East Semitic population migrated from what is now the Levant and spread into Mesopotamia, and the new population could have contributed to the collapse of the Uruk period c. 3100 BC. This early East Semitic culture is characterized by linguistic, literary and orthographic similarities extending from Ebla in the west to Abu Salabikh in the East. The personal names from the Sumerian city of Kish show an East Semitic nature and reveals that the city population had a strong Semitic component from the dawn of recorded history, Gelb consider Kish to be the center of this civilization, hence the naming.
The Ebla–biblical controversy refers to the disagreements between scholars regarding a possible connection between the Syrian city of Ebla and the Bible. At the beginning of the Ebla's tablets deciphering process in the 1970s, Giovanni Pettinato made claims about a connection. However, much of the initial media excitement about a supposed Eblaite connection with the Bible, based on preliminary guesses and speculations by Pettinato and others, is now widely described as "exceptional and unsubstantiated claims" and "great amounts of disinformation that leaked to the public". In Ebla studies, the focus has shifted away from comparisons with the Bible, and Ebla is now studied above all as a civilization in its own right. The tide turned after a bitter personal and scholarly conflict between the scientists involved, and an alleged interference by the Syrian authorities on political grounds.
Ancient Semitic-speaking peoples or Proto-Semitic people were Western Asian people who lived throughout the ancient Near East, including the Levant, Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa from the 3rd millennium BC until the end of antiquity.
Igrish-Halam or Igriš-Halab, was a king of the ancient city state of Ebla. His name means "(The god of) Halab has driven away ", hence, the name might be a commemoration of an Eblaite victory that led to the incorporation of lands beyond the city of Halab. His reign was characterized by an Eblaite weakness, and tribute paying to the kingdom of Mari, with whom Ebla fought a long war. His battle with Iblul-Il of Mari at Sahiri was instrumental in this tribute payment.
Hadabal or 'Adabal was a prominent god in ancient Syria in the 3rd millennium BCE, known from the Ebla archives. After the destruction of Ebla, he vanished from history.