During the Oriental Institute's seventeenth season of excavation at Nippur (1987), major new information was gathered on the history of the city walls. In addition, we investigated a recently discovered small Islamic site a short distance beyond the north-eastern city wall.
The expedition arrived in Iraq in late September and began excavation on October 10. The digging ended on December 12. The staff consisted of McGuire Gibson as director, Sayyid Muhammad Yahya as representative of the Department of Antiquities, James A. Armstrong as assistant director and archaeologist, John C. Sanders as architect, Peggy Bruce Sanders as photographer and artist, Steven Cole as epigrapher, Margaret C. Brandt as archaeologist and geomorphologist, and Augusta McMahon as archaeologist and registrar. Abraham Van As and Loe Jacobs, ceramic specialists with the Belgian Expedition, joined us for ten days to study our second-millennium pottery. The field operations were made more effective than in previous seasons by the addition of Sayyid Khalaf Bedawi as foreman. Sayyid Khalaf had been foreman at Nippur in the late 1940s and early 1950s, after which he became a permanent employee of the Department of Antiquities. Recently retired from the Department, he was again available to become a key member of the expedition. During the early part of the season, when we were engaged in moving sand and backfill from previous excavations, we hired forty local workmen. For most of the season, however, we employed twenty-three local men, six of whom we began training as pickmen.
We would like to express our gratitude to Dr Moayyad Sa'id Damirchi and the staff of the Department of Antiquities for help in making the season a success. Dr Bahija Ismail, Director of the Iraq Museum, was as gracious and accommodating as usual in her relations with the expedition. We must also acknowledge the generous aid of the Qaimakam of Afak and the Muhafadh of Qadissiyah in solving problems with the supply of water to the site.