The years 1977 and 1978 witnessed a spectacular increase in the number of archaeological excavations in Iraq, both Iraqi and foreign. The chief reason for this was the intensive rescue operation mounted by the State Antiquities Organization in the Hamrin basin, where many ancient sites are threatened by a dam now nearing completion. The conspicuous success of this operation, in which foreign excavators were able to take advantage of the generous allocation made by the Iraqi government, will be apparent in the following pages. The amount of work did however make it impossible for Mr. Postgate to prepare a separate report for 1977, since he was in the field at the time. Hence we have to offer a biennial report, covering more than 60 sites.
The reports have been collected and edited by Mr. J. N. Postgate and Mr. P. J. Watson, both members of the British Archaeological Expedition to Iraq. Our gratitude goes not only to them, but to all the directors and other archaeologists who have generously contributed to the collection. In some cases we have failed to collect a report, and in this case a brief note is included; this, and a certain unevenness in the length of the reports, is an inevitable result of the size of the undertaking, and we wish to apologize to those directors whose sites are not properly covered. The collection is divided into two parts: normal excavations (including three sites in the Haditha dam area), and sites in the Hamrin basin rescue project, each arranged in alphabetical order. We wish to express our gratitude here to Dr. Behnam Abu as-Soof and Sd. Sabah Jasim for their assistance in collecting reports on the Hamrin and Haditha sites respectively, for which they are the overall directors. Information has sometimes been culled from the Organization's journal Al-Athari, and in this case the source is acknowledged at the end of the report. Otherwise the data come from personal visits, written reports submitted by the excavators, and contributions to the Babylon, Assur and Hamrin conference in Baghdad in December 1978.