Thursday, June 23, 2016

Evolution towards the first cities of Mesopotamia

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have revealed the latest archaeological discoveries on the origins and consolidation of the first farming societies in Upper Mesopotamia, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Gird Lashkir site is an archaeological tell with exceptional potential, with some 14 metres of sediments and a surface of approximately 4 hectares occupied by ancient populations. It is located close to the temporary river of Wadi Kasnazan and the cities of Kasnazan and Banaslawa, pertaining to the current capital of Kurdistan, Erbil (northern Iraq).

The archaeological dig has revealed a series of occupancies which go from the Neolithic period to the first millennium BCE.

Over 150 m2 have been uncovered, which distributed along the slopes of the tell, have allowed researchers to discover well conserved architectural remains of specialised buildings, personal houses and working areas located in exterior areas.

Researchers were able to differentiate between the more recent occupancies, located in the higher part of the tell and dating from the historic Neo-Assyrian period (until the end of the second millennium BCE). Several objects discovered from this era stand out and could indicate that one of the buildings was used as a warehouse, and could be linked to the exchange of goods.

Another very extensive and important occupancy, probably from the Early and Middle Bronze Age (more specifically from Ninevite V, 2600-2550 BC) was confirmed, with habitat vestiges in several areas of the tell and the discovery of very important objects.

The most ancient period, discovered on site this latest campaign, is an occupancy from the Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BCE), in one of the deepest digs conducted at some 4 metres below current ground level. Remains were also recovered from the Neolithic's Ubaid and Halaf periods (6000 to 4500 BCE).

The evaluation of the discoveries made at this site is very positive. First from a scientific viewpoint, given that there are no sites with an occupancy similar to the one in the area of Erbil and because it allows to discover the evolution of the settlement in the western plain of northern Kurdistan. The good conservation of the remains and the importance of the objects found confirm the potential of the settlement as a historical source of the first cities of Mesopotamia.

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