Campaigns > Excavations 2010
Excavations 2010

The 2010 excavation campaign concentrated on intensive investigations on the terrace on the western slope of the main mound (Area C). One objective was to continue the research in those areas with Middle Assyrian occupational levels as already excavated in 2006 through 2009. The amount of information concerning administrative activities in this area merits further research. The discovery of a huge amount of Middle Assyrian clay tablets in this excavation area added to the understanding of the texts already found in 2009. These texts seem to be part of a larger archive belonging to a local palace and being discarded after the abandonment or dismantlement of the administrative structures. The huge amount of tablets of different size, proportions and purpose will shed new light on the history of this region of the Upper Mesopotamian piedmont and Middle Assyrian state organization in the western part of the empire.
Fig. 2: Team 2010.A second objective was to expose a larger area of the presumed pre-Middle Assyrian monumental mud-brick structure unearthed in Squares 6745 and 6845 (Trench C-II) in order to better understand its function and stratigraphic setting and to continue several soundings in different areas of the terrace. Thus a complete sequence of occupational surfaces from the Middle Assyrian period through the Mittani period can be investigated and part of the ancient topography reconstructed.
In addition to those main goals of the season, two new areas were investigated: one (Area F) in the lower town west of the terrace where the aforementioned trench is situated. This operation aimed at understanding the stratigraphy and possible extent of the Middle Assyrian and older levels to the west of the main mound.
Another trench (Area E) was dug in the north of the main mound, under the remains of the so called Neo Assyrian palace exposed to the elements since the 1940 American expedition. Here the presence or absence of Neolithic levels, as recently discussed by several scholars, was to be investigated.

The archaeological operations were divided into six trenches:
Trench C-I (Squares 6746 and 6846) where the northern part of the Middle Assyrian House I was excavated and the levels underneath were removed in order to uncover a large portion of the monumental mud-brick structure. In Trench C-II (Squares 6645, 6745, 6845, 6644, 6744 and 6844), where central parts of the Middle Assyrian House I had already been removed during the previous season, several soundings cutting through the older levels were expanded. In the eastern part the remains of House I were completely exposed, documented and later removed as well. In Trench C-III (Squares 6644, 6744, 6643 and 6743) the stratigraphy of a quite complex occupational sequence of Middle Assyrian House II was investigated. In Trench C-IV (Squares 6642 and 6742) the extension and stratification of the Middle Assyrian architecture was further investigated, as well as a sounding through the older levels. This trench was moreover expanded towards the south and should at some stage close the gap between C-IV and C-V further to the south. Excavations in Trench C-V (Sqare 6738) were carried out to get more insight into the extent of the administrative quarter.

Trench E (Squares 8152, 8252, 8153 and 8253) constitutes a new approach to the understanding of the occupational levels represented at the northern side of the mound. Underneath the refill of the American sounding IX several levels of a probably Pre-Pottery Neolithic occupation were investigated.

Trench F (Squares 6144, 6244 and 6344) is situated in the lower town and consists of three soundings about 10m apart from each other. These yielded strong accumulations and architectural remains of mainly Byzantine times.

Team Members

Directors of excavation:
Prof. Dr. Dominik Bonatz (Director of Excavations, German part)

Dr. ‘Abd al-Masih Bagdo (Director of Excavations, Syrian part)

Co-/Field Director of excavation:
Peter Bartl, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Field Archaeologists:
Ana Arroyo, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Assad Alaw, PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Francesco del Bravo, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Costanza Coppini, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Dr. Daniela Crasso (Freie Universität Berlin)
Mirjana Culibrk, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Ines Heide, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Annika Hotzan-Tchabashvili, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Fehed Hsen, Archaeologist (Department of Antiquities, Qamishli)
Dr. Drahoslav Hulinek (Slovakian Archaeological and Historical Institute, Bratislava)
Simon Jacob, Student (Aleppo University)
Carolin Jauß, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Christine Kainert, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Rosa Reising, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Marco Ruhlig, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Rami Schams ed-Din, Student (University of Damascus) (August 2010)
Jana Stehliková, M.A. (Slovakian Archaeological and Historical Institute, Bratislava)
Kilian Teuwsen, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Yana Vasileva, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)
Friedrich Weigel, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Martin Wienert, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Pottery Studies:
Manfred Tonch, M.A., PhD Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Small find studies:
Dr. Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz (Freie Universität Berlin)

Stefanie Janke, Student (Freie Universität Berlin)

Lithic Studies:
Christoph Purschwitz, M.A. (Freie Universität Berlin) (from August 4th to August 8th)

Elias Abd ad-Nour (Directorate of Museums and Antiquities, Hasseke)

Abdallah Hamid (Raqqa)
Hussein Hamid (Raqqa)

Yvonne Helmholz, M.A., PhD Student (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

Madeleine Barnekow, Student (Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart)
Lisa Masen, Student (Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart)

Svenja Partheil, Dipl. Biol. (from August 24th to September 11th)

William Pethe, Student (Freie Universität Berlin) (from August 12th to August 19th)

Chief illustrator:
Dr. Susanne Geck (Freie Universität Berlin)

Tibor Lieskovsky (Slovakian Archaeological and Historical Institute, Bratislava)

Daniel Kendera (Slovakian Archaeological and Historical Institute, Bratislava)

Local Workers:
About 65 workers from Ras al-‘Ain

In addition to the large team of field archaeologists, several experts visited us this summer in order to pursuit their individual goals. Inter alia a team of the Tokyo University of Science under the direction of Prof. Dr. Izumi Nakai and Dr. James Lankton visited us for a certain period to investigate into the glass production in Byzantine and early Islamic times and to carry out material analysis of stone objects.

We appreciate the support given by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in Damascus, especially Dr. Michel al-Maqdissi, and we thank our local workers from Ras al-‘Ain for their untiring help during excavations.