Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-sxzjt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-23T08:24:23.164Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2020


The Shahrizor Prehistory Project has targeted prehistoric levels of the Late Ubaid and Late Chalcolithic 4 (LC4; Late Middle Uruk) periods at Gurga Chiya (Shahrizor, Kurdistan region of northern Iraq), along with the Halaf period at the adjacent site of Tepe Marani. Excavations at the latter have produced new dietary and environmental data for the sixth millennium B.C. in the region, while at Gurga Chiya part of a burned Late Ubaid tripartite house was excavated. This has yielded a promising archaeobotanical assemblage and established a benchmark ceramic assemblage for the Shahrizor Plain, which is closely comparable to material known from Tell Madhhur in the Hamrin valley. The related series of radiocarbon dates gives significant new insights into the divergent timing of the Late Ubaid and early LC in northern and southern Mesopotamia. In the following occupation horizon, a ceramic assemblage closely aligned to the southern Middle Uruk indicates convergence of material culture with central and southern Iraq as early as the LC4 period. Combined with data for the appearance of Early Uruk elements at sites in the adjacent Qara Dagh region, this hints at long-term co-development of material culture during the fourth millennium B.C. in southeastern Iraqi Kurdistan and central and southern Iraq, potentially questioning the model of expansion or colonialism from the south.

Research Article
IRAQ , Volume 82 , December 2020 , pp. 41 - 71
Copyright © The British Institute for the Study of Iraq 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abu al-Soof, B. 1966. “Short Sounding at Tell Qalinj Agha (Erbil)”. Sumer 22: 223234.Google Scholar
Abu al-Soof, B. 1985. Uruk Pottery: Origin and Distribution. Republic of Iraq: Ministry of Culture & Information, State Organization of Antiquities & Heritage.Google Scholar
Akkermans, P. M. and Verhoeven, M.. 1995. “An image of complexity: The burnt village at Late Neolithic Sabi Abyad, Syria”. American Journal of Archaeology 99: 532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Altaweel, M., Marsh, A., Mühl, S., Nieuwenhuyse, O., Radner, K., Rasheed, K. and Saber, S. A.. 2012. “New Investigations in the Environment, History and Archaeology of the Iraqi Hilly Flanks: Shahrizor Survey Project 2009–2011”. Iraq 74: 135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arroyo Barrantes, D. 2016. “Communities in transition: The development of mass production and urban feasting in Northern Mesopotamia” in Iamoni, M., ed. Trajectories of Complexity; Socio-economic Dynamics in Upper Mesopotamia in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 139158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldi, J.S. 2012. “Coba Bowls, Mass Production and Social Change in Post-Ubaid Times” in Marro, C., ed. After the Ubaid: Interpreting Change from the Caucasus to Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Urban Civilization (4500–3500 BC). Paris: De Boccard, pp. 393413.Google Scholar
Baldi, J.S. 2016a. “Regionalized patterns and paths to “complexity”: Reflections about ceramic provinces and organizational modalities in the 6th-4th millennia Northern Mesopotamia” in Iamoni, M., ed. Trajectories of complexity; Socio-economic Dynamics in Upper Mesopotamia in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Periods. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 117138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldi, J. S. 2016b. “Chalcolithic Ceramics from Girdi Qala Northern Mound (Survey and Trench D): Typological Features” in Vallet, R., ed. Report on the Second Season of Excavations at Girdi Qala and Logardan. Paris: CNRS, Directorate of Antiquities of Souleymanieh, pp. 113120.Google Scholar
Baldi, J. S. and Abu Jayyab, K.. 2012. “A comparison of the ceramic assemblages from Tell Feres al-Sharqi and Hamoukar” in Marro, C., ed. After the Ubaid: Interpreting Change from the Caucasus to Mesopotamia at the Dawn of Urban Civilization (4500–3500 BC). Paris: De Boccard, pp. 163180.Google Scholar
Boese, J. 1995. Ausgrabungen in Tell Sheikh Hassan I. Vorläufige Ausgrabungskampagnen 1984–1990 und 1992–1994. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Google Scholar
Bogaard, A., Charles, M., Livarda, A., Ergun, M., Filipovic, D. and Jones, G.. 2013. “The archaeobotany of mid-later Neolithic occupation levels at Çatalhöyük” in Hodder, I., ed. Humans and Landscapes of Çatalhöyük: Reports from the 2000–2008 seasons. Los Angeles: Monographs of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California at Los Angeles, pp. 93128.Google Scholar
Chiocchetti, L. 2007. “The children's burials of the Ubaid period: Tell Abu Husaini, the Hamrin area and beyond”. Mesopotamia 42: 117142.Google Scholar
Chiocchetti, L. 2014. “Tell Hassan: the Ubaid pottery”. Mesopotamia 49: 2752.Google Scholar
Felli, C. 2003. “Developing Complexity. Early to Mid Fourth-Millennium Investigations: The Northern Middle Uruk Period” in Matthews, R., ed. Excavations at Tell Brak: Vol 4: Exploring an Upper Mesopotamian Regional Centre 1994–1996. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, pp. 5397.Google Scholar
Foster, C. P. 2009. Household Archaeology and the Uruk Phenomenon: A Case Study from Kenan Tepe, Turkey. PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
Frangipane, M. 2007. “Different types of egalitarian societies and the development of inequality in early Mesopotamia”. World Archaeology 39: 151176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fuller, D. Q. and Stevens, C. J.. 2009. “Agriculture and the development of complex societies: An archaeobotanical agenda” in Fairbairn, A.S. and Weiss, E., eds. From foragers to farmers: papers in honour of Gordon C. Hillman . Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 3757.Google Scholar
Gonzalez Carretero, L., Wollstonecroft, M., and Fuller, D.Q.. 2017. “A methodological approach to the study of archaeological cereal meals: A case study at Çatalhöyük East (Turkey)”. Vegetation history and Archaeobotany 26 (4): 415432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, P.J. 2011. Ubaid Period Agriculture at Kenan Tepe, Southeastern Turkey. PhD Dissertation, University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
Healey, E. 2006. “Lithics”. in B. J. Parker, ed. The Upper Tigris Research Project (UTARP): A Preliminary Report from the 2003 and 2004 Field Season at Kenan Tepe. Anatolica 32: 9499.Google Scholar
Himmelman, H. 2014. Ceramic Traditions and Innovations of the Late Halaf Period: pXRF and Petrographic Analyses of the Pottery from Tepe Marani. MA Thesis, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.Google Scholar
Hole, F. and Tonoike, Y.. 2016. Homesteads on the Khabur. Tell Ziyadeh and Other Settlements. Oxford: BAR International Series.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jasim, S.A. 1985. The Ubaid Period in Iraq: Recent Excavations in the Hamrin Region. Oxford: BAR International Series.Google Scholar
Jassim, S.Z. and Goff, J.C.. 2006. Geology of Iraq. Prague: Dolin.Google Scholar
Kopanias, K., Beuger, C., Carter, T., Fox, S., Hadjikoumis, A., Kourtessi-Philippakis, G., Livarda, A., and Macginnis, J.. 2013. “The Tell Nader and Tell Baqrta Project in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Preliminary Report of the 2011 Season”. Subartu 6–7: 2357.Google Scholar
Lewis, M. 2017. Ceramic Production during the Late Chalcolithic at Gurga Chiya: A Petrographic and Geochemical Examination of Ceramics from the Shahrizor Plain, Iraqi-Kurdistan. MSc Thesis, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.Google Scholar
Lloyd, S. and Safar, F.. 1943. “Tell Uqair. Excavations by the Iraq Government Directorate of Antiquities in 1940 and 1941”. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 2: 131189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mallowan, M. E. L. and Rose, J. C.. 1935. “Prehistoric Assyria: The Excavations at Tall Arpachiyah, 1933”. Iraq 2: 1178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marsh, A., Fleitmann, D., Al-Manmi, D. A. M., Altaweel, M., Wengrow, D. and Carter, R.. 2018. “Mid-to late-Holocene archaeology, environment and climate in the northeast Kurdistan region of Iraq”. The Holocene 28 (6): 955967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McAdams, E. and Mynors, H. S.. 1988. “Tell Rubeidheh, Pottery from the Uruk Mound” in Killick, R. G., ed. Excavations at Tell Rubeidheh. Warminster: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, pp. 3977.Google Scholar
Moon, J. and Roaf, M.. 1984. “The Pottery from Tell Madhhur”. Sumer 43: 108167.Google Scholar
Nannucci, S. 2012. “La ceramica dei livelli Uruk di Tell Hassan, Hamrin” in Mazzoni, S., ed. Studi di Archeologia del Vicino Oriente. Scritti degli allievi forentini per Paolo Emilio Pecorella. Firenze: Firenze University Press, pp. 3977.Google Scholar
Nieuwenhuyse, O., Odaka, T., Kaneda, A., Mühl, S., Rasheed, K. and Altaweel, M.. 2016. “Revisiting Tell Begum: A Prehistoric Site in the Shahrizor Plain, Iraqi Kurdistan”. Iraq 78: 103135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nishiaki, Y. 1993. “Anatolian Obsidian and the Neolithic obsidian industries of North Syria: A preliminary review”. Essays on Anatolian Archaeology VII: 140160.Google Scholar
Paladre, C., Al Debs, R. and Amin, H.A.. 2016. “Archaeological Survey of Girdi Qala North Mound” in Vallet, R., ed. Report on the Second Season of Excavations at Girdi Qala and Logardan. Paris: CNRS, Directorate of Antiquities of Souleymanieh, pp. 8995.Google Scholar
Parker, B. J., Foster, C. P., Henecke, J., Hopwood, M., Hopwood, D., Creekmore, A., Demirergi, A. and Eppihimer, M.. 2008. “Preliminary report from the 2005–2006 field seasons at Kenan Tepe”. Anatolica 34: 103176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Peyronel, L. and Vacca, A. 2015. “Northern Ubaid and Late Chalcolithic 1–3 Periods in the Erbil Plain. New Insights from Recent Researches at Helawa, Iraqi Kurdistan”. Origini XXXVII: 89127.Google Scholar
Peyronel, L. and Vacca, A. forthcoming. “The Italian Archaeological Project in the Erbil Plain (2013–2017)” in Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Munich, 03–07 April 2018. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Google Scholar
Postgate, J. and Moon, J.. 1982. “Excavations at Abu Salabikh, 1981”. Iraq 44(2): 103136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saber, A.S., S. Salman, K. Rasheed, S. Mühl, . 2014. “Two salvage excavations in Southern Kurdistan, Sulaymaniyah Province, Iraq: Tell Tanjero (season 2008) and Tell Greza (season 2003)”. Mitteilungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft zu Berlin 146: 139168.Google Scholar
Schwartz, G. M. 1988. A Ceramic Chronology from Tell Leilan. Operation 1. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Smith, A., Graham, P. and Stein, G.. 2016. “Ubaid Plant Use at Tell Zeidan, Syria”. Paléorient 41: 5169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stein, G. 2018. “Excavations at Surezha. Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region, Iraq” in Stein, G., ed. The Oriental Institute 2017–2018 Annual Report. Chicago: The University of Chicago, pp. 2943.Google Scholar
Stein, G. and Alizadeh, A.. 2017. “Excavations at Surezha (Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region, Iraq)” in Stein, G., ed. The Oriental Institute 2016–2017 Annual Report. Chicago: The University of Chicago, pp. 7185.Google Scholar
Stein, G. and Alizadeh, A.. 2014. “Surezha, Kurdistan” in Stein, G., ed. The Oriental Institute 2013–2014 Annual Report. Chicago: The University of Chicago, pp. 138151.Google Scholar
Tomé, A., Cabral, R. and Renette, S.. 2016. “The Kani Shaie Archaeological Project” in Kopanias, K. and McGinnis, J., eds. The Archaeology of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Adjacent Regions. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 427435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ur, J.A. 2010. Urbanism and Cultural Landscapes in Northeastern Syria: The Tell Hamoukar Survey, 1999–2001. Oriental Institute Publications 137. Chicago: Oriental Institute, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
Vallet, R. 2016. “Introduction” in Vallet, R., ed. Report on the Second Season of Excavations at Girdi Qala and Logardan. Paris: CNRS, Directorate of Antiquities of Souleymanieh, pp. 514.Google Scholar
Vallet, R., Baldi, J., Naccaro, H., Rasheed, K., Saber, S. A. and Hamarasheed, S. J.. 2017. “New evidence on Uruk expansion in the Central Mesopotamian Zagros Piedmont”. Paléorient 43 (1): 6187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wengrow, D. 1998. “The changing face of clay: continuity and change in the transition from village to urban life in the ancient Near East”. Antiquity 72 (278): 783–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wengrow, D. 2001. “The Evolution of Simplicity: Aesthetic Labour and Social Change in the Neolithic Near East”. World Archaeology 33 (2): 168188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wengrow, D., Carter, R., Brereton, G., Shepperson, M., Hamarashi, S. J., Saber, S. A., Bevan, A., Fuller, D., Himmelman, H. and Sosnowska, H.. 2016. “Gurga Chiya and Tepe Marani: New Excavations in the Shahrizor Plain, Iraqi Kurdistan”. Iraq 78: 253284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wright, H.T. 1981. An Early Town on the Deh Luran Plain: Excavations at Tepe Farukhabad. Ann Arbor: Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yoffee, N. 2005. Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar