Members of the British Archaeological Expedition to Iraq first visited Tell al-Hawa in January 1986 from the Saddam Dam. The site appears as a massive, solitary giant, dominating the landscape and dwarfing all other sites in the region (Plate Ia). From the summit, 30 m high, there is an impressive view over a vast plain covered with mounds in all directions. A walk over the main mound revealed a particularly wide range of pottery types representing most known periods. The size, scope and archaeological potential of Tell al-Hawa and the surrounding plain led us to decide on further investigation.
A first season of survey and excavations was conducted from October 1986 to April 1987 inclusive. The aim of the project was to carry out a single, integrated study of a major site in its context.
We would like to thank specially Dr Mu'ayyad Sa'id Damerji, the Director-General of Antiquities and Heritage, and Dr Abd as-Sittar Azzawi, then Director of the Antiquities Office in the North, without whose help the Hawa Project would not have been possible. For the duration of the 1987 season we were allowed use of Antiquities Office housing and working facilities in the citadel at Tel'afar, for which we are very grateful. Mr Salem Yunis, then Inspector at Tel'afar, was of considerable assistance to us at all times, as were our representatives in the field, Mr Mohammed Zaki Abdul Kerim and Mr Meti Barbar al-Tumm.