the difficult situation in North Iraq, torn by war against the ISIS insurgents,
the third field season of the UGZAR - "Settlement history of the Iraqi
Kurdistan" project started on August 16.
field program of this season seeks to continue the work in the part of
the survey area located in the Duhok province. The area to be covered extends
from the city of Akre to the south and east, towards the valley of the
Greater Zab river (Fig. 7)
constituting a border between the Duhok and Erbil/Hawler provinces (MAP).
field team, led by Professor Rafał Koliński (Institute of Prehistory,
Adam Mickiewicz University), is composed of: Dr. Dorota Ławecka (deputy
director, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw), Ms. Joanna Mardas,
Ms. Agata Smilgin, Mr. Adam Lokś (all Institute of Prehistory, Adam Mickiewicz
University), Mrs. Xenia Kolińska (deputy director, Past and Present Foundation),
and photographer, Mr. Dariusz Piasecki, (freelance). The Department of
Antiquities of the Duhok province is represented by Mr. Sarkaft Amer, and
Mr. Khaleed Aziz (Fig. 16).,
both of the Akre Office of Antiquities.
August 16 to 29, the team limited to only four persons was completing documentation
of architectural monuments referring to the history of Christian, Muslim
and Jewish communities in the area west of Akre (Fig. 14)
and in Akre itself (Fig. 4,
This period was also devoted to the analysis of pottery collected during
the two previous seasons that has not been fully studied (sites S020-037
of the season 2012 and S080-099 of the season 2013). The field survey will
begin after August 29, when three more team members will arrive from Poland.
first two weeks of the actual survey (August 29 to September 12) were devoted
to documentation of the ancient settlements in the area located south of
Akre, between the Akre-Rovia highway and the Şaxi Sarta mountains. The
area turned out to be densely settled only in the part adjacent to the
Navkur plain (six sites documented). There were identified numerous settlement
mounds witnessing usually a long settlement history. The remaining part
of the territory under scrutiny revealed an entirely different character,
with only a few, relatively late sites in evidence (eight sites documented
on the area of c. 300 km2). Therefore, the fieldwork strategy was modified.
Instead of going everyday to the field with a full team, some days were
devoted to reconnaissance only, others to transects along wadis, and only
when the number of sites was identified, the full team was in the field
documenting them. This strategy had several advantages: it helped to use
time and resources more reasonably; it also allowed for continuous processing
of the material collected on the already documented sites, as well as of
some sherds from the 2013 season.
following two weeks (September 14 to 30) were devoted to the survey of
the remaining part of the Navkur plain, between Daratu and Rovia (Sectors
G1-G2). Eight settlement mounds were observed there, basing on the study
of satellite imagery (Fig. 11).
It was thus expected that a substantial amount of pottery will be collected
in the area. During the survey it turned out that many of those sites have
extensive lower cities (in four cases as large as 16 ha in area). In all,
17 archaeological sites of various size were documented, witnessing intensive
settlement of the area during the Bronze (Fig. 6)
and Iron Ages (Fig. 19).
Such was the conclusion of the fieldwork on the alluvial plain.
latest period of the field survey was devoted to research in the easternmost
area, between the Greater Zab valley (Fig.
Şaxi Pirat (Fig. 22).
This territory, c. 300 km2 in area, is a typical highland area cut by deep
valleys of seasonal streams (Fig. 1,
discharging into the Greater Zab. This extensive area yielded very scarce
evidence of ancient settlement, exclusively of later date (Parthian, Sasanian
A few of them were located on the Greater Zab, and the remaining ones at
the foot of the mountains (Fig. 20,
leaving a wide belt of unsettled country. The reason for such a state of
the matter is difficult to explain, as the sites are absent even in valleys
of a few perennial streams present in the area. A possible explanation
may be related to poor quality of soils at the bottom of the valleys, and
on the hills that precluded permanent settlement.
difficult conditions (a threat of the Islamic State) the UGZAR field team
achieved all the objectives of the 2014 field season. Most of the area
of the work permit belonging to the Duhok province of Iraqi Kurdistan has
been covered by survey (the remaining area, a triangle formed by the Greater
Zab river, Şaxi Zilka Bardaraş and the meridian 43° 40’, was located
too close to the conflict zone to be surveyed). In this area altogether
103 archaeological sites and 22 architectural objects were located and
documented. Half of the sites (53) were located on the fertile, alluvial
plain of Navkur in the southernmost part of the surveyed territory, and
the remaining ones along the mountains and the Greater Zab valley, with
a remarkable unsettled zone in between. All the finds collected on the
sites during the three seasons of fieldwork were documented, allowing for
drawing final conclusions before the end of the actual research project
grant awarded by National Centre for Science in November 2014 will allow
for the continuation of fieldwork in the governorate of Erbil (Fig.
in years 2015-2017 and for the preparation of the final publication of
the project for the beginning of 2018.
ON THE FIELD ACTIVITIES OF THE UPPER GREATER ZAB ARCHAEOLOGICAL
PROJECT FOR THE 2014 SEASON