Excavation in Northern Iraq: Sasanian loom discovered

November 06, 2017

FRANKFURT. A team of Frankfurt-based archaeologists has returned from the Iraqi-Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah with new findings. The discovery of a loom from the 5th to 6th century AD in particular caused a stir.

The group of Near Eastern archaeology undergraduates and doctoral students headed by Prof. Dirk Wicke of the Institute of Archaeology at Goethe University were in Northern Iraq for a total of six weeks. It was the second excavation campaign undertaken by the Frankfurt archaeologist to the approximately three-hectare site of Gird-î Qalrakh on the Shahrizor plain, where ruins from the Sasanian and Neo-Assyrian period had previously been uncovered. The region is still largely unexplored and has only gradually opened up for archaeological research since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The objective of the excavations on the top and slope sections of the settlement hill, some 26 meters high, was to provide as complete a sequence as possible for the region's ceramic history. Understanding the progression in ceramics has long been a goal of research undertaken on the Shahrizor plain, a border plain of Mesopotamia with links to the ancient cultural regions of both Southern Iraq and Western Iran. These new insights will make it easier to categorise other archaeological finds chronologically. The excavation site is ideal for establishing the progression of ceramics, according to archaeology professor Dirk Wicke: "It is a small site but it features a relatively tall hill in which we have found a complete sequence of ceramic shards. It seems likely that the hill was continuously inhabited from the early 3rd millennium BC through to the Islamic period."

However, the archaeologists had not expected to find a Sasanian loom (ca. 4th-6th century AD), whose burnt remnants, and clay loom weights in particular, were found and documented in-situ. In addition to the charred remains, there were numerous seals, probably from rolls of fabric, which indicate that large-scale textile production took place at the site. From the neo-Assyrian period (ca. 9th-7th century BC), by contrast, a solid, stone-built, terraced wall was discovered, which points to major construction work having taken place at the site. It is possible that the ancient settlement was refortified and continued to be used in the early 1st millennium BC.
-end-
Work on the project was initiated by Prof. Wicke in 2015 with support from the local Antiquities Service as well as the Enki e.V. association situated at Goethe University and the Thyssen Foundation. Work is set to continue next year depending on further funding and the political development in the Iraqi-Kurdish region.

Images to download can be found under the following link: http://www.uni-frankfurt.de/68944552

Image captions:

Image 1: Aerial view of the site from the south showing the excavation areas on the summit and south-western slope as well as the small test pit on the south-eastern slope. Photo: Philipp Serba

Image 2: Neo-Assyrian cylinder seal and imprint on right, height 3.9 cm. It depicts two winged genies on a sacred tree. Photo: Dr. Jutta Eichholz

Image 3: Excavated corner of room with remnants of the loom between the wall (top) and a bench of six mudbricks. The round loom weights made from clay are particularly visible, as are slabs of mud once forming some kind of shelving. Photo: Lanah Haddad

Information: Prof. Dr. Dirk Wicke, Institute of Archaeologicaly, Near Eastern Archaeology, Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, 60629 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, E-Mail: wicke@em.uni-frankfurt.de, Telephone 49-0-69-798-32317, Secretary's Office 49-0-69-798-32313

Goethe University Frankfurt

Related Archaeologists Articles from Brightsurf:

Archaeologists reveal human resilience in the face of climate change in ancient Turkey
An examination of two documented periods of climate change in the greater Middle East, between approximately 4,500 and 3,000 years ago, reveals local evidence of resilience and even of a flourishing ancient society despite the changes in climate seen in the larger region.

Archaeologists use tooth enamel protein to show sex of human remains
A new method for estimating the biological sex of human remains based on reading protein sequences rather than DNA has been used to study an archaeological site in Northern California.

Archaeologists verify Florida's Mound Key as location of elusive Spanish fort
Florida and Georgia archaeologists have discovered the location of Fort San Antón de Carlos, home of one of the first Jesuit missions in North America.

Archaeologists receive letter from biblical era
Hebrew University team unearths Canaanite temple at Lachish; find gold artifacts, cultic figurines, and oldest known etching of Hebrew letter 'Samech.'

Archaeologists found the burial of Scythian Amazon with a head dress on Don
The burial of the Amazon with a head dress made of precious metal dated back to the second half of the 4th c BC was found by the staff of the Don expedition of IA RAS during the examination of the cemetery Devitsa V of Voronezh Oblast.

Archaeologists find Bronze Age tombs lined with gold
Archaeologists with the University of Cincinnati have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets about life in ancient Greece.

Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate
An ancient walkway most likely used by pilgrims as they made their way to worship at the Temple Mount has been uncovered in the 'City of David' in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

Tiny ear bones help archaeologists piece together the past
For the first time archaeologists have used the small bones found in the ear to look at the health of women and children from 160 years ago.

FEFU archaeologists have found the oldest burials in Ecuador
Archaeologists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) found three burials of the ancient inhabitants of South America aged from 6 to 10 thousand years.

Archaeologists found traces of submerged Stone Age settlement in Southeast Finland
The prehistoric settlement submerged under Lake Kuolimojarvi provides us with a clearer picture of the human occupation in South Karelia during the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Stone Age (about 10,000 - 6,000 years ago) and it opens up a new research path in Finnish archaeology.

Read More: Archaeologists News and Archaeologists Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.