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We offer a reassessment of two letters from the state correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (r. 744–727 BC) with the earliest references to a town called Yauna and a people called the Yauneans, as encountered on the eastern Mediterranean coast by the newly established imperial administration. Past scholarship connected these Assyrian terms with the ethnonym ‘Ionians’ and/or the toponym ‘Ionia’. The study narrows down the location of Yauna, drawing also on a review of the coastal sites that have produced Greek ceramic imports: although identification remains elusive, Yauna was certainly situated in the territory of the kingdom of Hamath, and later the Assyrian province of Ṣimirra. Discussion of the historical and cultural background of Yauna’s foundation highlights its significance for the ‘transfer debate’ and the phenomenon of the ‘Greeks overseas’. We argue that the Assyrians first encountered the Yauneans in this locality and that, to them, they were originally simply the inhabitants of Yauna. Due to the similarities perceived between them and (other?) Greeks appearing in the eastern Mediterranean, the Assyrians came to apply the ethnonym universally to all these people, who eventually adopted it for themselves. Thus, we support the argument that the term ‘Ionian’ originated in external nomenclature.
Recent palaeoenvironmental, historical, and archaeological investigations, primarily consisting of site reconnaissance, in the Shahrizor region within the province of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan are bringing to light new information on the region's social and socio-ecological development. This paper summarises two seasons of work by researchers from German, British, Dutch, and Iraqi-Kurdish institutions working in the survey region. Palaeoenvironmental data have determined that during the Pleistocene many terraces developed which came to be occupied by a number of the larger tell sites in the Holocene. In the sedimentary record, climatic and anthropogenic patterns are noticeable, and alluviation has affected the recovery of archaeological remains through site burial in places. Historical data show the Shahrizor shifting between periods of independence, either occupied by one regional state or several smaller entities, and periods that saw the plain's incorporation within large empires, often in a border position. New archaeological investigations have provided insight into the importance of the region as a transit centre between Western Iran and northern and southern Mesopotamia, with clear material culture links recovered. Variations between periods' settlement patterns and occupations are also beginning to emerge.