A New Archaeological Frontier: Urban Settlements and Landscapes in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

The past four years have seen a renaissance in the archaeology of Mesopotamia. Although fieldwork has been suspended in Syria, and most of Iraq continues to be unsafe, the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq has become a welcome home for new research into some of the most important questions of early social complexity. This session brings together new scholarship that bears on questions of early urbanism, imperial power, settlement patterns, and landscape evolution.

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  • Documents (7)

  • Assyrian Landscape Planning in the Core of the Empire (ca. 900-600 BC) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jason Ur.

    A variety of evidence has been used to suggest that the Assyrian kings and their planners made dramatic changes to the landscape of the imperial core, and these changes were deliberate. This evidence mostly consists, however, of anecdotal observations and uncritical readings of propagandistic royal inscriptions. The hypothesized planned Assyrian landscape also conflicts with the results of systematic archaeological research on preceding Bronze Age landscapes, which were largely self-organized....

  • The Cultural Landscape of the Region of Koi-Sanjay (Koya) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cinzia Pappi.

    The dynamics of the expansion of Assyria involved the creation of a network of infrastructures which enabled the movement not only of goods and people, but also of technologies and ideas. Excavations at Satu Qala (Iraqi Kurdistan), the Assyrian provincial capital of Idu has highlighted the role of its region within the network. This area, located along the valley of the Lower Zab, served as a multicultural borderland both between southern and northern Iraq and between the valley of the Tigris...

  • Kurd Qaburstan, A "Second Generation" Urban Site on the Erbil Plain (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Glenn Schwartz.

    While the emergence and early trajectory of urbanism has been extensively studied in southern Mesopotamia and in Syria, similar research has been conspicuously rare in northern Iraq. Fieldwork at Kurd Qaburstan (ancient Qabra?) on the Erbil plain conducted by the Johns Hopkins University now affords an opportunity to investigate a major Bronze Age urban center of northern Iraq. Since its main period of occupation is the Middle Bronze Age (Old Babylonian period, early second millennium BC), work...

  • The Origins of Social Complexity in Chalcolithic Northern Mesopotamia: Excavations at Surezha (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gil Stein.

    Although much scholarship has focused on the emergence of towns and cities in southern Mesopotamia, archaeologists still know very little about comparable developments in northern Mesopotamia and especially Iraqi Kurdistan, due to the rarity of archaeological fieldwork in those regions until recently. The excavation project based at Surezha on the Erbil plain aims to contribute to our understanding of Chalcolithic northern Mesopotamia and illuminate the development of social complexity in the...

  • The Qara Dagh Archaeological Landscape: The Relation Between Settlement Patterns and Environmental Contexts (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Antonietta Catanzariti.

    The Qara Dagh Valley, located 41 km south from the city of Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, is the subject of study of the Qara Dagh Regional Archaeological Project (QDRAP). This project aims to investigate the Qara Dagh Valley’s archaeological history. The valley is generally known for the presence of the Darban-i-Graw relief, which represents a late third millennium king subduing his enemies. Indeed, textual and visual evidence suggest that this region was exposed to frequent...

  • The Rowanduz Archaeological Program - Results from the 2015 field season (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Allison Cuneo. Michael Danti.

    This talk presents the results from the third seasons of archaeological investigations conducted by the Rowanduz Archaeological Program (RAP) in Erbil Province in northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan. During the Late Bronze and early Iron Age, the project area, the modern Soran District, served as an important buffer zone between the Assyrian and Urartian Empires, and scholarly consensus locates the Hurro-Urartian buffer state of Ardini/Musasir in this rugged mountainous region, best known for its...

  • Settlement Systems and Land Use Strategies in the Upper Diyala/Sirwan River Valley, Kurdistan Region of Iraq (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jesse Casana. Claudia Glatz.

    This paper presents results of a regional archaeological survey in the Upper Diyala/Sirwan River valley, a study area that straddles the highland landscapes of the Zagros Mountains and lowland plains of southern Mesopotamia. Historically constituting a key communication route between these regions, the Upper Diyala offers a unique laboratory for analysis of changing subsistence strategies and interactions among and ancient communities who inhabited very different upland and lowland environments....