OF THE PROJECT | REALIZATION OF THE PROJECT
| EXPECTED RESULTS | BIBLIOGRAPHY
OF THE PROJECT
Iraqi Kurdistan is perhaps one of the least known areas in the region of
greater Mesopotamia, if not the entire Middle East, as it has been inaccessible
to research for over 40 years (from 1974 to 2005). Only since the formation
of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, followed by the rapid
improvement in security conditions and the stabilization of the internal
political situation in the region has recent archaeological work become
possible. Since 2005, limited archaeological work has been conducted in
Irbil itself (the sites of Qalat Erbil, Ain Qawa and Qalinj Aga), Sulaymaniyah
region (the site of Bakr Awa), as well as archaeological survey in the
highland valleys around Irbil city (Kopanias and MacGinnis 2016). The UGZAR
project is concentrated within the borders of ancient Assyria, and belongs
to a group of four archaeological survey projects in the northern part
of Kurdistan. These four projects – EHAS (Eastern Habur Archaeologicla
Survey, led by Dr. Peter Pfalzner of Tubingen University), LoNAP (Land
of Nineveh Arcaheological Project, led by Dr. Daniele Morandi Bonacossi
of Udine University), and EPAS (Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey, led
by Dr. Jason Ur of Harvard University), as well as the UGZAR project (MAP
2) – cooperate with each other in terms of field survey methodology
and the dating of artifacts, in order to obtain a coherent picture of the
development of settlement in the entire northern area of the studied region,
as well as to allow for efficient comparison of results between the projects.
realization of the project will be especially valuable towards our knowledge
of the history of northern Mesopotamia. Kurdistan lies within the region
of the fertile crescent, which consists of fertile plains and broad valleys
separated by hill ranges. It was here, over 10,000 years ago, where the
domestication of plants and animals occurred (exemplified by the sites
of Shanidar Cave, Jarmo, Mlefa’at [i.e. Braidwood and Howe 1960]) (FIG.
1), which enabled the transition from hunting and gathering to
food production (the Neolithic revolution) and sedentery life. This was
the first step along the road towards the creation of urban civilization
in southern Mesopotamia approximately at end of the 4th millennium BC,of
which our modern world is a direct descendent.
the end of the third millennium BC, the area of modern day Kurdistan was
mentioned in cuneiform texts. The deciphering of ancient written sources
made it possible to find place names of cities situated in modern Kurdistan,
against which the kings of the Third Dynasty of Ur (such as Hamazi, Simanum,
and Simurrum) campaigned, as well as Qabr, which was captured by Samsi-Addu,
king of Assyria in the 18th century BC (Eidem 1985). In the first millennium
BC, the territory of Kurdistan became part of the Assyrian state. We are
aware of at least two important settlements which existed within the Assyrian
state: Arbela (modern day Irbil, which has not been studied archaeologically
due to uninterrupted settlement into the present day), as well as Kilizu
(modern Qasr Semamok, studied by H.A. Layard in 1848 [Layard 1853]. By
G. Furlani in 1933 [Furlani 1934], and by a current French archaeological
expedition from Lyon University). It is also known that water from rivers
and streams in this region was diverted by canals and aqueducts built by
successive rulers of the Assyrian Empire to the great capitals of Assyria:
Nimrud, Dur-Sharrukin, and Nineveh (FIG.
2) (Jacobsen and Lloyd 1935; Bagg 1999) (FIG.
to very few excavation projects from the 19th and 20th centuries, perhaps
the most important source of information regarding the archaeology of this
region are the 1970’s Iraqi publications “Archaeological Sites in Iraq”,
a catalogue of the locations of sites registered in the directory of the
State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq released in 1970, and,
six years later, the “Atlas of Archaeological Sites of Iraq” (Salman
1976), which contains maps showing the distribution of these sites. On
the maps showing the area where the UGZAR project will take place, the
names and approximate locations of about 120 settlements are given, though
there is no information about their size or the period of settlement. It
is possible that this data is stored in the archives of the local offices
of the Antiquities Ministry of Kurdistan.
OF THE PROJECT
project will be completed in three stages:
first stage will consist of the identification of sites visible in satellite
imagery. The black and white satellite images taken in the course of the
CORONA spy missions in 1967 and 1968 will be used (Day, Lodgson and Batell
1998). This imagery is now declassified, and available in the public domain
Atlas of the Near East, University of Arkansas). This imagery is
of very high value for archaeologists, due to a resolution of 2m, which
is perfectly satisfactory in term of archaeological work, as sites are
typically measured in hectares or even in tens of hectares. Another important
reason for using this satellite imagery is that the CORONA missions were
conducted during a time when this part of the Middle East was much less
populated, and less intensively cultivated than in the present (Kouchoukos
2002; Ur 2003). In this imagery, even small sites are visible which may
have since disappeared from the surface in the last few decades due to
ploughing or from being covered by building projects.
second stage consists of the completion of a list of sites based on materials
available from the archives of regional offices of the State Board of Antiquities
and Heritage in the provinces of Irbil and Duhok in Kurdistan. Unfortunately,
the documents used to compile the maps in the “Atlas of Archaeological
Sites in Iraq” is most likely stored in the Baghdad office of the State
Board of Antiquities and Heritage, if they were not destroyed in 2003.
of data obtained during the implemention of these two stages will take
place in the third stage of the project. During six two-month field seasons
(September-October 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017), archaeological
survey will attempt to cover all of the identified archaeological sites.
In the 2012 season, work was carried out in
the southeastern part of the work permit area, within the province of Irbil.
In the 2013,
and 2015 seasons, the area of Duhok province
was studied, specifically its western, eastern, and southern areas. In
the project team returned to Irbil province, and worked in the northern
part of this area. The last field season, planned for 2018, will over the
southeastern part of the work permit area.
these field seasons, documentation work was conducted along the following
parameters: the location of each site is precisely determined using GPS
measurements, plans are created, and the site is documented with photography.
Surface collection of ceramics will take place, which forms the basis for
chronological determinations regarding the history of the settlement and
allows for the assessment of the size of the site in various historical
periods. Pottery and small finds from the surface of the sites will be
documented during the field seasons. In between seasons, documented material
will undergo analysis, and plans will be created to show the distribution
of materials at the sites; additionally, regional maps will visualize the
density of settlement in different historical periods. These materials
will be published on a regular basis on the project website.
attention is given towards documenting damage and predicting threats to
monuments, artifacts, and archaeological sites.
result of the project will be the first complete catalogue of archaeological
sites located in the area of the plains to the east and west of the Great
Zab river, and with a corresponding set of maps showing the distribution
of settlement in successive historical periods.
catalogue, containing information about the size of sites and their periods
of occupation, will take into account the intensity of settlement nd will
develop an outline of the history of settlement in this area. An important
element of the final results of the study will compare data from the results
of the other regional archaeological survey projects in the immediate vicinity
of the Polish UGZAR project.
project will allow for the improvement of our knowledge of settlement and
demographic trends in northern Mesopotamia, from prehistory to the Middle
Ages. The published catalogue of sites and artifacts will form the starting
point for further archaeological research in the region, and will help
fill the gaps in archaeological maps of northern Mesopotamia. Future excavations
will find a wealth of data in the final publications, and will be able
to use this information for the selection of potential sites for study.
Finally, information about the damage to archaeological sites, as well
as potential threats will allow for better policy and planning regarding
the protection of the cultural heritage of Kurdistan.
project will be completed by a five volume book publication, which is expected
by the end of 2018. This will include an Atlas containing the maps created
in the course of the project and three volumes of a catalogue of finds,
which will include the locations of settlements, architectural sites, and
caves in geographical order, as well as a volume discussing in detail the
history and dynamics of settlement in northern Kurdistan.