Galeria w Pałacu Kazimierzowskim,
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28,
godz. 8:30-18:00

O CAŚ

Lew

Exhibition

Palmyra, Lion from the sanctuary of the goddess Allat

The monumental low relief of a lion measuring more than 3 m was once part of a wall surrounding the sanctuary of the goddess Allat. Its apotropaic function is clear: the animal is depicted frontally with a magnificent mane and open mouth. A small defenseless antelope seeks shelter between the mighty paws of the formidable beast. A short inscription in Palmyrene on one of the paws mentions the goddess Allat blessing everybody who will not shed blood in the sanctuary. This low relief dates to the beginning of the 1st century AD. Dismantled in the beginning of the 4th century AD due to the construction of the Camp of Diocletian, it was preserved as separate blocks, which were used in the foundations of later structures. Polish conservators renovated it twice: in the 1970s and in 2005. The lion stood at the entrance to the Museum in Palmyra, ‘guarding’ its collections and the oasis itself, until the summer of 2015, when it fell victim to a bloody and ruthless religious fanaticism. Zdemontowana w początkach IV w. n.e., w związku z budową Obozu Dioklecjana, przetrwała w postaci pojedynczych bloków w fundamentach późniejszych konstrukcji. Odrestaurowali ją polscy konserwatorzy w latach 70-tych ubiegłego wieku, i powtórnie w 2005 roku. Lew, stojący u wejścia do Muzeum w Palmyrze, 'strzegł' jego zbiorów i samej oazy, aż do lata 2015 roku, kiedy padł ofiarą krwawego i okrutnego fanatyzmu religijnego.

Palmyra, tower tombs

Tower tombs are so characteristic of the Palmyrene landscape that they have become the symbol of the city. The largest group is located in the so-called Valley of the Tombs and on the slopes of one of the hills to the south of the city. Their origins are connected with the tradition, deeply-rooted in Arabic religions, to erect a stele on the grave (known as nefesh), which according to the beliefs of that time was the place where the soul of the deceased lived. The form of the oldest Palmyrene tombs built at the turn of the era is in direct reference to this tradition. They are built in the shape of a tower rising above several tombs located in its lower part. In some of them there are also places for burials. The Polish expedition has excavated one of such monuments, the Tower of Atenatan, where a well-preserved mummy was discovered in a niche. It is an exceptional find in Palmyra. With time the towers became more developed and architecturally advanced, assuming the form of family tombs with interior staircases located in the corner, which gave access to upper stories. On every floor there were deep vertical niches with several levels which formed single graves, loculi. They were closed by stone slabs, often adorned with relief depictions of the deceased. They are accompanied by short inscriptions containing the name of the deceased and sometimes also of their ancestors or siblings. The architecture of these towers is also richly decorated, as can be seen in the case of the Tower of Kitot, which has also been excavated by Polish archaeologists. In a niche there is a low relief representing a funeral banquet scene, in which the founder of the tomb and his family participated. In the later towers richly decorated architectural elements appear also in their interiors, especially in the main entrance chamber. These include pilasters crowned with Corinthian capitals, painted ceiling coffers, profiled doorframes, cornices and lintels. This kind of decoration was visible in the best-preserved Tower of Elahbel from the 2nd century AD. Unfortunately, all three towers were blown up in 2015.

Palmyra, View of the agora

View of the Palmyrene agora, which was the main square of the city. It resembled eastern caravanserais (resting places for caravans and merchants traveling along trade routes), unlike the Greek agora, which served as a place for public assemblies. Here stood the so-called Palmyrene Tariff, a large stone slab with an inscription in Greek and Aramaic listing obligatory taxes and tolls on imported products, which was erected in the first half of the 2nd century. At the beginning of the 20th century it became part of a collection of the Heritage Museum in Saint Petersburg, given to the tsar of Russia as a gift. Finding the original location of the Tariff was one of the last achievements of the Polish archaeological mission before work in Palmyra was interrupted in 2011.

Palmyra, a relief from the tomb of Zabda

A relief depicting a banquet scene from the tomb of Zabda, son of Moqimo, from the 2nd century AD. It was discovered by the Polish expedition directed by Prof. K. Michałowski in the first season of excavations in Palmyra in 1959. The relief depicts the deceased owner of the grave in a pose characteristic for a reveler. He wears a long draped gown and holds a cup of wine in his left hand. The large slab is accompanied by a smaller relief with an image of the deceased’s wife, Beltihan, sitting in an armchair. An inscription in Palmyrene mentions not only the names of both deceased but also the occasion when the tomb was founded. Sculptural figurative decoration present in Palmyrene art was related mainly to religious life, particularly funerary beliefs. Banquet scenes were especially important. These reliefs, sculpted on large slabs and later also on sarcophagi, were usually placed in a prominent place in the tomb, in a niche opposite the entrance. They invariably depicted a man lying on a banqueting bed and surrounded by his family. In the tombs sarcophagi with such scenes were often arranged in a horseshoe shape to imitate a real banqueting hall.

Nimrud, lamassu

The winged bull lamassu from the time of Shalmaneser III (ruler of Assyria in 858–824 BC); one of a pair of sculptures unearthed by the Polish archaeological mission in the 1970s on the citadel in Nimrud. Heads and upper parts of torsos of both statues have been damaged probably already in antiquity. They are characterized by precise sculpting and fine modeling of the body. It is interesting to note that the cuneiform inscription engraved between the legs of these protective deities was repeated on the other side, which was invisible to the viewer. Lamassu – in Assyrian art monumental stone statues of winged bulls (or lions) with bearded human faces, which guarded the gates. Pairs of statues were usually placed on both sides of the entrance, in gates to palaces and temples, in passages leading to important rooms and also in city gates. The largest of known statues rose to the height of 4 m. Their sides were sculpted in high relief and their fronts carved in the round. As a result, lamassu have five legs: two when seen frontally and four when seen from the side where they imitate the movement of the creature. The heads are adorned with horned tiaras which in Mesopotamian mythology were a symbol of might exclusive for deities. The symbolism of these depictions which unite the characteristics of human, bull, lion and bird (eagle) is connected with protection against enemies and evil spirits. It is thought that the winged figures of protective genii, which are so common in Assyrian art, were later adapted, after some transformations, as images of angels. In 2015, the world saw photographs and videos showing the barbaric destruction of lamassu statues in the museum of Mosul by religious fanatics. Others were blown up together with the Northwestern Palace. The only lamassu statues and reliefs to survive to this day are the ones kept in museums outside Iraq or underground, where they were not yet discovered by archaeologists.

Nimrud, the deposit of reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III

Excavation works conducted by the Polish archaeological mission in Nimrud in 1975. Trench where the deposit of reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III (second half of the 8th century BC) was discovered. It was probably a temporary lapidarium set up already in antiquity where low reliefs disassembled from an older building were stored before being used in new structures Reliefs of earlier rulers came into possession of their successors, who used them to decorate their new palaces built on the citadel. After being dismantled from the walls they were stored in lapidaria. The room excavated by the Polish mission, in which there were almost 120 reliefs and their fragments, was probably such a lapidarium. The reliefs belonged to king Tiglath-pileser III (744–727 BC) and probably came from the Central Palace which he was building. The palace itself was not found and was presumably dismantled by later rulers. It is thought that this deposit was organized by order of king Asarhaddon (681–669 BC) and the reliefs were meant to be used in the Southwestern Palace which was being built at the time but was never finished.

Tell Qaramel

Excavations of a settlement from the Proto-Neolithic and early Neolithic periods, located at the foot of the hill in Tell Qaramel, Syria. It dates to the time of the transformation of hunter-gatherer communities into agrarian societies. Circular stone towers discovered there were dated to the 11th–10th millennium BC, which makes them the oldest structures of this kind in the world. They were probably an assembly point for the inhabitants of the settlement and may have also served as places of cult activity. Also found there were relics of an imposing stone building (possibly of a sacral character) with benches, altar and hearth with a stone kerb where meat offerings were made.

Hatra, Great Temple

In antiquity Hatra was a large fortified city, which started developing in the 3rd century BC, contemporaneously with Palmyra. It lay much farther to the east, in northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), and was under the political influence of the Parthian Empire. After Sassanid Persians conquered it in the 3rd century AD, it was abandoned for good. Its monumental ruins, which show an interesting fusion of Greco-Roman and Oriental elements, have survived in surprisingly good condition to the present day and are inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Unfortunately, since 2015 they are also to be found on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Hatra was a city of temples. Standing close to each other on a big square in the center of the town, a so-called temenos, they formed one great sacral complex. About twelve buildings were identified, including a so-called Great Temple towering above all the others. The main god of the pantheon worshipped in the city was Shamash, the sun god. A characteristic element of the Hatran temples is an iwan (eyvan), a large rectangular room (hall) with a barrel vault and walls on three sides. The side with the entrance is wide open.

Hawarte, excavations in mitreum

Hawarte (western Syria), excavations in an underground cave discovered beneath an early Christian church. In the cave was located a mithraeum with wall paintings dated to the 4th century AD. Mithraism (the cult of Mithra) developed its own type of cult building called a mithraeum. According to the rules of the cult it was located underground, usually in a natural cave, to commemorate the cave in which, according to myth, Mithra was born. The Christian basilica, erected above the sanctuary in 421 AD, covered all traces of the pagan cult. After the collapse of the cave’s ceiling revealed the entrance to the mithraeum, archaeologists and conservators from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw undertook the excavation of the cave and preservation of the wall paintings found inside. The work lasted from 1998 to 2009.

Hawarte, Tauroktonia

Wall painting from the mithraeum in Hawarte with the scene of bull-killing by Mithras. This scene, the so-called tauroctony, is the main motif of Mithraic iconography and an immanent element of every mithraeum. Its symbolism is still under discussion but according to the most popular theory the killing of the bull is an act of renewing and cleansing of the world. The earth and all living things are regenerated by the blood and semen of the bull. No other mithraeum in the Roman Empire had such rich painted decoration. This wall painting was originally located in the center of the east wall of the main room of the sanctuary. Like other elements of the painted decoration of the cave, it was reconstructed by Polish conservators from small fragments.
Palmyra, Lion from the sanctuary of the goddess Allat
Palmyra, tower tombs
Palmyra, View of the agora
A relief from the tomb of Zabda, son of Moqimo, depicting the deceased owner of the grave lying on a bed in a pose characteristic for a reveler, middle of the 2nd century AD. A relief from the tomb of Zabda, son of Moqimo, depicting the deceased owner of the grave lying on a bed in a pose characteristic for a reveler, middle of the 2nd century AD.
Winged bull (lamassu) from the Neo-Assyrian period, one of a pair of sculptures discovered by the Polish archaeological mission.Winged bull (lamassu) from the Neo-Assyrian period, one of a pair of sculptures discovered by the Polish archaeological mission.
Trench where the deposit of nearly 120 reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III was discovered Trench where the deposit of nearly 120 reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III was discovered
Tell Qaramel
Hatra, Great Temple
Hawarte, excavations in mitreum
Hawarte, Tauroktonia

CONFERENCE

Invitation for an exhibition and conference [PL]

Program of conference [PL]

Program of conference [ENG]

CONFERENCE: “Poles in the Near East”

1–3 April 2016, hall 210, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw Main Campus

The conference, co-organized by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology and the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, will accompany the exhibition, extending the themes of the presentation for the general public. It will consist of two main thematic blocks, specifically designed to bring different levels of knowledge to an interested viewership.

Special session: “Endangered Heritage. Archaeological Research and Conservation in Syria and Iraq”

1 April, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Invited speakers of the first day of the conference will discuss, in English, the current situation of antiquities in Syria and Iraq and international initiatives aiming at safeguarding them. The session is addressed to the general public, media, diplomats and all interested in issues of national heritage. Among the invited speakers are guests from the Syrian Department of Antiquities and Museums, as well as representatives of international organizations working for the monitoring and protection of heritage in the Near East: SHIRIN (Syrian Heritage In Danger: an International Research Initiative and Network), EAMENA (Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa) and Syrian Heritage Archive Project along with Polish researchers involved in the RASHID project (an Iraqi counterpart of SHIRIN). In the second part of this session, directors of Polish archaeological projects in Syria and Iraq, now suspended, will briefly describe Polish involvement in this field from the beginning of research in the 1950s, referring wherever data are available to the current situation of the sites and the fate of archaeological objects transferred from the excavated sites to local museums.

Session: “Poles in the Near East – archaeological excavations, studies, conservation ”

2–3 April, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Days 2 and 3 of the conference are planned as scientific conference with lectures (in Polish) encompassing the state of research and studies on the material from PCMA excavations in the Near East. The presentations, in the form of articles, can be submitted for publication in a forthcoming Special Studies fascicle of the Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean journal.

MAP OF RESEARCH

The material culture of Syria and Iraq is an important part of our common world heritage, shaping the ancient civilization that stands at the roots of modern European civilization. It was in Syro-Mesopotamia that two major revolutions took place, the Neolithic and the urban one. The Sumero-Akkadian civilization that developed in the territory of present-day Iraq invented writing which, after several transformations, reached Europe through Syria and Phoenicia. Many cultures, philosophies and religions were born in the Near East. Here thrived the biblical cities of Ur, Niniveh and Babylon and the great ancient empires of Mitanni and Assyria. Here, in Roman Syria, the first Christian communities emerged, even before the new faith reached Rome.

Polish archaeologists and conservators from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw have been working in the Near East since 1959 when Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski began excavating ancient Palmyra in Syria. In the past 50 years we have worked on 17 archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq, and have taken part in conservation missions and salvage operations connected with the building of reservoirs on the Euphrates. The political situation in the region forced us to suspend work in Iraq in 1990; since 2011 all Polish projects in Syria have also been suspended. One step nearer to the Centre’s resuming work in this part of the world is our participation in a project conducted by the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań aimed to study the settlement history in the autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

Meanwhile, deprived of proper care, numerous archaeological sites and museum collections in Syria and Iraq are doomed to being looted and devastated. Protecting them, many officials of local antiquities services and nameless guardians have placed their life at stake. Many priceless monuments, including the temple of Bel in Palmyra and the palace of Assyrian rulers in Nimrud, have been lost forever. Smuggling and illicit trade in stolen antiquities is a growing issue.

The exhibition presented here and the accompanying website answers the call of UNESCO to support its campaign for the preservation of the endangered heritage in Syria and Iraq by promoting the history and culture of these countries. It also takes the opportunity to present the work of Polish archaeologists and conservators conducted there by PCMA.


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  • Tell Abu Hafur,
  • Tell Arbid,
  • Tell Djassa al-Gharbi,
  • Kurdystan,
  • M’lefaat,
  • Nemrik,
  • Masnaa,
  • Tell Qaramel,
  • Hawarte,
  • Tell Rad Shaqra,
  • Hatra,
  • Tell Rijim,
  • Tell Rafaan,
  • Nimrud,
  • Palmyra,
  • Bijan,
  • Tell as-Saadiya,
  • Tell Amarna,

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES


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  • Tell Abu Hafur,
  • Tell Arbid,
  • Tell Djassa al-Gharbi,
  • Kurdystan,
  • M’lefaat,
  • Nemrik,
  • Masnaa,
  • Tell Qaramel,
  • Hawarte,
  • Tell Rad Shaqra,
  • Hatra,
  • Tell Rijim,
  • Tell Rafaan,
  • Nimrud,
  • Palmyra,
  • Bijan,
  • Tell as-Saadiya,
  • Tell Amarna,

Tell Abu Hafur

Tell Abu Hafur ("West") oraz Tell Abu Hafur "East"

Two settlement sites lying not far apart on opposite banks of a wadi
Multi-layered sites: rural settlement, fortified(?) farm

Location:

Syria
Upper (Northern) Mesopotamia; Syrian Jazira; Upper Khabur basin (so-called Khabur Triangle)

Dating:

  • Ubaid period (5th millennium BC)
  • Uruk period (end of the 4th millennium BC)
  • Early Dynastic II–III period (2800–2300 BC)
  • Mitanni period (second half of the 2nd millennium BC)
  • Neo-Assyrian period (first half of the 2nd millennium BC)
  • Hellenistic period
  • Roman–Parthian period
  • Early Islamic period

History of research:

Salvage excavations conducted as part of the Western Hassake Dam Project in 1988–1990 (three excavation seasons)

Directors:

Maria Krogulska (first season), Piotr Bieliński (two following seasons)

Most interesting finds:

  • Relics of domestic architecture from the Early Dynastic period on the main tell and from the Mitanni and Neo-Assyrian periods on the eastern tell
  • Pottery from different periods

Description of the site and excavations:

The main tell is a steep, conical-shaped hill 20 m high and with surface of about 3 ha, while the other one is only 5 m high and covers about 1 ha. The hills are situated on opposite sides of Wadi Avedji, about 12 km to the north-west of the city of Hassake. At present, they stand on the bank of an artificial water reservoir.

The settling of both hills happened at roughly the same time. The main tell was first inhabited in the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, while the small one in the Late Bronze Age. Nine archaeological layers were recognized on the main tell (Tell Abu Hafur). The most abundant remains came from the Early Dynastic period, the latest one to be identified on site. They were fragments of four mud-brick houses which stood along a narrow street paved with stones in the domestic quarter on the southeastern slope of the tell. Each house had two to four rooms and a courtyard. Walls and thresholds were covered with clay plaster and floors were made of compacted clay. Typical furnishing included ovens which were always built in the northern or western corner, hearths and clay pools of unknown purpose. Among the houses seven graves were found: three infant burials in vessels, three children’s burials in mud-brick cases and one pit burial with the remains of an adult.

On the northern slope of the hill a fragment of a 6-m thick wall of mud bricks was uncovered. It is not clear if it protected the settlement from being flooded by water from the nearby wadi or if it was just a defense wall.

Stanowisko z czasów późniejszych znajdowało się na mniejszym wzgórzu (Tell Abu Hafur "East"). Z warstwy mitannijskiej pochodziły pozostałości domu mieszkalnego. Pozostałości osady obronnej, z murem na kamiennym fundamencie, pochodziły z okresu nowoasyryjskiego. Wierzch stanowiska był poważnie zniszczony przez erozję i współczesną orkę, jednak sądząc po ceramice odnalezionej na powierzchni, osadnictwo było kontynuowane w okresie hellenistycznym, partyjsko-rzymskim i wczesnoislamskim. Interesującym znaleziskiem, wskazującym na bogactwo okresu społeczności z czasów hellenistycznych, były skorupy importowanych czarno firnisowanych naczyń attyckich.

Some pottery vessels from Tell Abu Hafur became part of the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.

Tell Arbid

Tell Arbit

Settlement site, burial grounds

Location:

Syria
Northern Syria, Syrian Jazira, upper Khabur basin (the so-called Khabur Triangle)

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • Ninevite 5 period (2750–2550 BC)
  • Early Dynastic III period (2550–2300 BC)
  • Akkadian period (2300–2150 BC)
  • Post-Akkadian period (2150–1950 BC)
  • Khabur period (1950–1500 BC)
  • Mitanni period (1500–1300 BC)
  • Neo-Babylonian period (about 6th century BC)
  • Hellenistic period (until the 2nd century BC)

History of research:

  • First survey of the site conducted by sir Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie’s husband, in 1936
  • Excavations conducted as part of the joint Polish–Syrian research project in 1996–2010
  • Excavations suspended

Director:

Piotr Bieliński

Most interesting finds:

  • Temple of the Ninevite 5 period, one of the oldest buildings of this type in northern Mesopotamia
  • Two richly furnished women’s graves of the Mitanni period
  • Relics of domestic and official buildings from different periods
  • Khabur Ware period graves
  • Numerous examples of glyptics and minor arts, mainly terracottas from different periods (including zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, models of carts, toys, rattles)

Description of the site and excavations:

The site covers about 38 ha and consists of the tell itself, i.e., the so-called upper city (14 ha, rising about 14 m above the level of the plain), and the lower city surrounding it. Tell Arbid is a multicultured site which was inhabited for a long period of time during the Bronze Age. In antiquity, this region—a flat and fertile steppe—was densely populated and rich. Tell Arbid (its ancient name is unknown) lay half-way between the two biggest centers of this area in the 3rd millennium BC, Tell Brak (ancient Nagar) and Mozan (ancient Urkish).

Well-preserved quarters of the city from the Ninevite 5 period allow for the tracing of the nature of its architecture, the grid of twisting streets, and the appearance of houses with various installations and outhouses.

The most important discovery was a temple from the same period, one of a few such structures in northern Mesopotamia. It was a rectangular solid building measuring 7 m by 10 m with 1.5-m thick walls. Inside stood an altar made of bricks, about 1 m high, the surface of which was covered with white plaster. There was a square hearth directly in front of it and beside it lay a clay censer in the shape of a long column indented at the top. In front of the entrance to the temple there was a 3.5 m-high artificial scarp, a kind of clay-and-mud-brick stepped terrace, which gave the facade a monumental look.

On the summit of the citadel a fragment of a large official building from the Early Dynastic period was found. A facade ornamented with avant-corps, a decoration reserved for the most important Mesopotamian buildings of representative character, was an indication of its function.

At the turn of the 2nd millennium BC the city became less densely populated. There are fewer buildings in the residential districts from the post-Akkadian (end of the 3rd millennium BC) and Khabur Ware (first half of the 2nd millennium BC) periods and the open spaces between them were used as cemeteries.

During the times of the Kingdom of Mitanni (middle of the 2nd millennium BC) the main tell was abandoned and life continued at its foot (sector A) where remains of a wealthy farm were uncovered. The evidence of its wealth is indicated by two richly furnished female graves which were found on the citadel.

Remains from the Neo-Babylonian and Hellenistic periods are scarce which indicates that the site was not used as intensively as before.

Read more:

Mission’s website with up-to-date bibliography:

http://www.tellarbid.uw.edu.pl/

See also:

http://uw.academia.edu/TellArbidMission

Tell Djassa al-Gharbi

Tell Djassa el-Gharbi, Tell Dżassa el-Gharbi

Multi-layered settlement site; (fortified?) rural settlement

Location:

Syria

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia; Syrian Jazira, Upper Kahbur basin (so-called Khabur Triangle)

Dating:

  • Early Dynastic III period (2500–2300 BC)
  • Hellenistic pottery fragments indicate that the site was resettled at the end of the 1st millennium BC

History of research:

Salvage excavations conducted as part of the Western Hassake Dam Project in 1988–1990 (three seasons of excavations).

Directors:

Maria Krogulska (first season), Piotr Bieliński

Most interesting finds:

Well-presrved architectural remains

Lead figurine of Ishtar(?)

Description of the site and excavations:

The steep, conical-shaped hill 16 m high and with surface of about 2 ha is located about 10 km to the north-west of the city of Hassake near Wadi Avedji (about 2.5 km to the south-east of Tell Abu Hafur, which was excavated as part of the same salvage project). At present it lies on the bank of an artificial water reservoir.

Four archaeological layers from the 3rd millennium BC were identified during salvage excavations. Rooms furnished with clay basins with walls lined with gypsum belonged to Layer I. In one of them 29 pottery vessels were found.

The best preserved remains were discovered in Layer II. Some of the mud-brick walls had been preserved to the height of 2.3 m. Parts of two presumably domestic buildings were also uncovered. Some of the rooms in the bigger one had ceilings made of two false arches resting on internal buttresses. The original height of the room is estimated to have been 4 m.

A massive mud-brick structure adjoining the domestic buildings on the edge of the tell also belonged to Layer II. It was a two-step platform about 4.60 m high and more than 10 m wide. It may have constituted a part of the fortifications surrounding the settlement.

Some of the pottery vessels from Tell Djassa were given to Poland by the Iraqis and are now part of the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.

Read more:

Bieliński, P. (1990). Polish excavations in Northeast Syria 1988–1989. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 1, 17–25.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_1989_I/477.pdf

Bieliński, P. (1991). The Third Season of Excavations in Northeastern Syria –1990. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 2, 94–101.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/pl/pam-journal/spisy-tresci/pam-1990-ii/

Reiche, A. (2001). Polish archaeological research in Northeastern Syria. Bulletin du Musée National de Varsovie, 42, 95–106.

Kurdystan

“Newcomers and autochthons. Settlement in the Upper Zab basin in the Late Chalcolithic and Ninevite 5 periods”

Sub-project conducted as part of the UGZAR (Upper Greater Zab Archaeological Reconnaissance) concession, directed by Dr. R. Koliński (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań)

Location:

Iraq, autonomous Kurdistan Region
Erbil and Dohuk Governorates
Upper Zab basin

Geographical/historical region:

Northern Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • Late Chalcolithic period (4200–3100 BC)
  • Ninevite 5 period (first half of the 3rd millennium BC)

History of research:

  • Survey conducted since 2013.
  • Project in progress.

Director:

Dorota Ławecka

Description of the site and research:

In the second half of the 4th millennium BC the southern Mesopotamian Uruk culture expanded to the surrounding territories. This phenomenon was well-recognized in northern Syria and southern Turkey, but not much is known about it in northern Iraq. Apart from settlements with sets of local objects, sites with numerous typically southern Uruk products were also identified in the region.

The main aim of the project is to identify settlements where Late Uruk period pottery is present. The repertoire of forms of both the southern Mesopotamian pottery and local wares will be analyzed.

After establishing the quantitative ratio of objects belonging to these two groups, it will be possible to preliminary assess the degree to which each site was related to the southern culture. As a result it will be possible to compare the sites where southern materials were found with the ones where only local pottery was present, taking into consideration the frequency of their occurrence and possible differences in location which may be due to the existence of ancient trade routes.

The analysis of earlier Chalcolithic remains and later finds belonging to local wares called the Ninevite 5 period pottery will enable preliminary conclusions as to the continuity (or lack of) of settlement on sites where such material was found.

During former surveys 28 Late Chalcolithic settlements were identified, most of which were previously unknown. The surprising and fascinating discovery of sites representing almost exclusively southern material culture (beside the ones where only local, northern pottery types were found) enlarges our knowledge of the expansion of the Uruk culture into the Upper Zab region.

Read more:

The “Newcomers and autochthons. Settlement in the Upper Zab basin in the Late Chalcolithic and Ninevite 5 periods” project is part of the UGZAR concession.

Badania UGZAR (http://archeo.amu.edu.pl/ugzar/The UGZAR work (http://archeo.amu.edu.pl/ugzar/) is conducted under direction of R. Koliński as part of the program “Settlement history of the Iraqi Kurdistan” financed by the National Science Centre (grants 2011/03/B/HS3/01472 (2012–2014) and 2014/13/B/HS3/04872 (2015–2017).

M’lefaat

Settlement

Location:

Iraq
Mosul region

Geographical/historical region:

Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • 11th millennium BC
  • Early Neolithic

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted in 1989–1990.
  • Excavations completed.

Director:

Stefan Karol Kozłowski

Most interesting finds:

  • 10 circular houses built around a central square. Measuring from 2.7 m to 7 m in diameter, they were built of pisé and dried bricks and plastered. Inside, benches were found.
  • Stone tools: querns, grinders, cylindrical pestles, stone axes and slingshot projectiles

Read more:

Bieliński, P. (1985). Starożytny Bliski Wschód: Od początków gospodarki rolniczej do wprowadzenia pisma [Ancient Near East: From the beginnings of agriculture to the introduction of writing]. Warsaw: PWN, p. 99 [in Polish].

Brézillon, M. (1977). Dictionnaire de la préhistoire. Paris: Larousse.

Nemrik

Nemrik 9, Nemrik site 9

Settlement

Location:

Iraq
Modern-day autonomous Kurdistan Region
Iraqi stretch of the Upper Tigris Valley

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria

Dating:

  • Pre-Pottery Neolithic, from the 9th millennium BC to the 1st half of the 7th millennium BC (ca 8000–6500 BC)
  • Late Bronze Age period: Mitanni period (15th–14th century BC), Middle Assyrian period (13th century BC)
  • pre-Islamic cemetery of unestablished chronology

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted as part of the Mosul Dam Salvage Project in 1985–1989 (11 months of fieldwork overall). Excavations completed.
  • Excavations completed.

Director:

Stefan Karol Kozłowski

Most interesting finds:

  • Complete plan of an Early Neolithic settlement with furnished houses preserved
  • Prehistoric (Early Neolithic) settlement
  • Late Bronze Age rural settlement
  • Stone Neolithic sculptures (one of the oldest examples of figurative art)
  • Mitanni buildings and pottery (including a unique jar with painted decoration of goats feeding in the overgrowth)

Description of the site and excavations:

The Nemrik site 9 lies in the Dohuk Governate in northern Iraq, about 4 km to the southwest of Faidah. It is located on the left bank of the Tigris valley, on a high river terrace shaped like a peninsula due to wadis on three sides (1.5 km from the previous river bed).

The Neolithic remains occupy the flat part of the site (about 2 ha), while the historical settlement is limited only to a low tell in the southern part of the site (about 0.3 ha)

About 20 stone figurines were found in the Neolithic settlement. They are interpreted as objects of domestic cult and are one of the oldest testimonies of the beliefs of peoples inhabiting northern Mesopotamia. Most of them depict heads of animals, mainly birds, while two are anthropomorphic. One of them, preserved in fragments, is a female figurine, and the other, a 9 cm-high phallic representation with a carving of a male head with subtly emphasized eyebrow ridges and nose and big mouth with clearly marked engraved teeth. The double zigzag engraved across the cheeks and nose probably imitates a tattoo.

Read more:

Kozłowski, S.K. (1989). Nemrik 9, a PPN Neolithic site in Northern Iraq. Paléorient, 15(1), 25–31.

http://www.persee.fr/doc/paleo_0153-9345_1989_num_15_1_4482

Kozłowski, S.K. (1990). Nemrik 9. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 2, 102–111.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_1990_II/472.pdf

Kozłowski, S.K. (2002). Nemrik. An Aceramic Village in Northern Iraq. Warsaw: Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw.

Reiche, A. (2014). Tell Abu Hafur "East", Tell Arbid (North-Eastern Syria) and Nemrik (Northern Iraq) as Examples of Small-Scale Rural Settlements in Upper Mesopotamia in the Mittani Period. In: D. Bonatz (Ed.), The Archaeology of Political Spaces. The Upper Mesopotamian Piedmont in the Second Millennium BC (pp. 43–60). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.

http://www.degruyter.com/dg/viewbooktoc.chapterlist.resultlinks.fullcontentlink:pdfeventlink/$002fbooks$002f9783110266405$002f9783110266405.43$002f9783110266405.43.pdf?t:ac=product/177442

Masnaa

Settlement

Location:

Iraq
Area near the Haditha Dam on the Euphrates

Historical region:

Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • Lower Paleolithic (500,000–200,000 BC)
  • Middle Paleolithic (200,000–40,000 BC)
  • Upper Paleolithic (40,000–10,000 BC)

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted in 1981–1983.
  • Excavations completed.

Directors:

Stefan Karol Kozłowski, Waldemar Chmielewski

Most interesting finds:

  • Lower Paleolithic hand axes and pebble tools belonging to the oldest finds in Iraq.
  • Levallois and Mousterian tools.

Description of the site and excavations:

Complex of mainly Paleolithic sites located in the meander of the Euphrates where a sequence of Pleistocene river terraces was preserved. The oldest Lower Paleolithic tools are single finds from secondary deposits. The richest assemblage of finds dates to the Middle Paleolithic and is related to the material of Levallois and Mousterian type from the Levant and the Syrian Desert and to the finds from the Shanidar Cave.

Tell Qaramel

Settlement

Location:

Syria

Geographical/historical region:

Northern Levant

Dating:

  • Permanent settlement from the Proto-Neolithic and the beginnings of Pre-Pottery Neolithic
  • On the basis of more than 80 C14 dates five settlement horizons were distinguished:
    H0 16,890–10,980 p.n.e.
    H1 10,890–9670 p.n.e.
    H2 10,670–9250 p.n.e.
    H3 9820–8710 p.n.e.
    H4 9310–8780 p.n.e.

History of research:

Polish–Syrian excavations conducted in 1999–2011

Directors:

Ryszard F. Mazurowski, Bassam Jammous (1999–2000 and 2002), Thaer Yartah (2001), Youssef Kanjou (2003–2011)

Most interesting finds:

  • A few dozen early Neolithic structures including five towers and two proto-temples
  • More than 400 ornamented stone objects
  • A few dozen skeleton burials inside the settlement

Description of the site and excavations:

The settlement excavated in Tell Qaramel covers almost 3.5 ha and includes relics from the Proto-Neolithic and early Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPNA). During 13 seasons of excavations five circular stone towers were radiocarbon-dated to the period from the middle of the 11th millennium BC to about 9650 BC, which makes them the oldest structures of this type in the world. These monumental structures were of cult character and at the same time were probably places of assembly for the inhabitants of the settlement. One piece of evidence for this is the design of the interiors.

In the trenches located beside the towers about 90 domestic buildings and outhouses were discovered, as well as three temples/assembly places, numerous hearths and pits. Thirty-five human burials and several animal ones were found under the floors of some houses and in oval or circular pits dug between buildings. The deceased were laid in an embryonic position and a few of the graves were furnished with stone or bone beads and plaques.

Also discovered in the settlement was a rich collection of objects of everyday use made of flint and bone but predominantly of stone like chlorite and limestone. Many of them were richly decorated with geometrical, animal and anthropomorphic motifs.

In the case of Qaramel the most astounding thing is the fact that such highly-developed culture took roots in a community of hunter-gatherers (during the work conducted thus far no traces of the domestication of animals or the cultivation of grains were found).

Hawarte

Huarte, Hawarti

Place of worshi

Location:

Syria
Western Syria, Hama Governorate

Dating:

  • Roman and Byzantine period (1st–5th century AD)
  • First traces of use of the cave (1st century AD)
  • Mithraic wall paintings (4th century AD)
  • AD 421 – building of the first church during the reign of Alexandros, bishop of Apamea
  • AD 483 – building of the second church during the reign of bishop Photios

History of research:

Excavations conducted in 1998–2009 as part of the Polish–Syrian project

Conservation project since 2010

Director:

Michał Gawlikowski

Most interesting finds:

  • Underground cave used in the cult of god Mithra (mithraeum) underneath the ruins of a Christian basilica
  • Mithraeum as a place of a mysterious cult
  • Wall paintings adorning the walls of the mithraeum
  • Baptistery of the first church built over the mithraeum

Description of the site and excavations:

The excavations in Hawarte began in the 1970s when the ruins of a 5th-century church were explored by a Frenchman, Pierre Canivet. Twenty years later the floor in the middle of the nave collapsed, revealing a mysterious cave which had walls covered with Mithraic paintings. It turned out to be the main room of a mithraeum. Unfortunately, the first to reach it were robbers. While trying to smuggle a fragment of plaster with traces of painting out of the country, they were detained by Syrian customs officers which led to the discovery of the underground temple of the god Mithra.

Soon afterwards, in 1998, the Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums asked Prof. Michał Gawlikowski, at the time the director of excavations in Palmyra, to unearth the cave and protect the paintings found inside. This was done by Polish conservators collaborating with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw.

Salvage excavations under the ruins of a church in a small village of Hawarte begun as an ad hoc intervention developed into a longstanding archaeological and conservation project which led to the uncovering of the underground sanctuary of god Mithra.

The wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of Mithra which covered the walls of the cave are considered to be very important for the research on the Mithraic cult.

Read more:

Gawlikowski, M. (2012), Excavations in Hawarte 2008–2009. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 21, 481–495.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2009_XXI/PAM21_Gawlikowski.pdf

Gawlikowski, M. (2013). Huarté, un village d'Apamène. In G. Charpentier and V. Puech (Eds.), Villes et campagnes aux rives de la Méditerranée ancienne. Hommage à Georges Tate. Lyon: Maison de l'Orient méditerranéen, 261–270.

Majcherek, G. (2004). Hawarte. Excavation and restoration work in 2003. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 15, 325–334.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2003_XV/184.pdf

Parandowska, E. (2008). Hawarte, mithraic wall paintings conservation project. Seasons 2005–2006. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 18, 543–547.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2006_XVIII/554.pdf

Wagner, M. and Zielińska, D. (Eds.). (2012). Hawarte: ostatnie arcydzieła mistrzów antyku / Last masterpieces of ancient painters, Warsaw: University of Warsaw.

Zielińska, D. (2010). Hawarte. Project for the reconstruction of the painted decoration of the mithreum. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 19, 527–535.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2007_XIX/527-535_Hawarte.pdf

Tell Rad Shaqra

Tell Rad Shaqrah, Tell Rad Szakra

Fortified settlement and burial ground

Location:

Syria
Syrian Jezireh/northern Syria

Geographical/historical region:

Northern Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • Late Ninevite 5 period
  • Early Dynastic III period
  • Akkadian period
  • Neo-Assyrian period

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted in 1991–1995.
  • Excavations completed.

Director:

Piotr Bieliński

Most interesting finds:

  • Defense wall built of stone and bricks with earth-and-stone glacis
  • Relics of residential buildings and street grid of the Early Dynastic III period
  • More than 40 graves of various types, both adult’s and children’s, some of them richly furnished
  • The so-called eye idol – a low-relief with a representation of a human head

Description of the site and excavations:

Tell Rad Shaqra is a low tell measuring about 100 m in diameter. During several seasons of salvage excavations nine settlement layers were uncovered.

The small fortified settlement originated in the Early Dynastic II–Early Dynastic III period (middle of the 3rd millennium BC) and existed apparently without interruption until the Akkadian period when it was abandoned. The fortifications, unusual even in bigger cities of that time, consisted of a mud-brick wall 4 m thick and a 6-m wide buttress with facing made of basalt blocks.

Remains of successive mud-brick houses were excellently preserved. They were characterized by massive arched buttresses supporting the roofs. Plastered pools, probably used for household purposes, were found in many of these buildings.

Children’s burials were found under the floors of houses in the area of the town. Grave goods included mostly pottery vessels, but in some burials rich collections of jewelry, like necklaces and bracelets made of different materials, were found.

Hatra

Mabad al-Hadar; al-Ḥaḍr

Ancient city

Location:

Iraq Nineveh Governorate

Geographical/historical region:

Northern Mesopotamia; Iraqi Jazira

Dating:

  • Town (end of the 3rd century BC–mid-3rd century AD)
  • Fortifications discovered by the Polish mission: 1st century AD
  • Fortifications still standing which were documented by the Polish mission: 2nd century AD–first half of the 3rd century AD

History of research:

Single excavation season in 1990; work interrupted by the outbreak of the First Gulf War

Director:

Michał Gawlikowski

Most interesting finds:

  • City fortifications
  • The discovery of older defense walls from the 1st century AD with an angular tower

Description of the site and excavations:

The ruins of the city lay about 80 km south-west from Mosul in the middle of a desert steppe. Hatra was an important urban and religious center since the time of the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom (3rd–2nd century BC), later becoming a vassal state on the west border of the Parthian kingdom. Its peak came in the 2nd century AD. It was a fortified frontier city on the front line during Roman–Parthian wars in Mesopotamia; conquered by Sassanids, it was abandoned in the mid-3rd century AD.

Very well-preserved relics of sacral architecture in the center of town have been given the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Polish excavations were conducted in the southeastern part of the city and unearthed relics of older city walls, 200 m of which were traced using test trenches. A 0.5 km long stretch of defense walls from the 2nd century AD was also documented.

Read more:

Gawlikowski, M. (1991). The first season of excavations in Hatra, Iraq. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 2, 119–121.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_1990_II/473.pdf

Gawlikowski, M. (2013). The development of the city of Hatra. In L. Dirven (Ed.), Hatra. Politics, Culture and Religion between Parthia and Rome (pp. 73–79). Stuttgart: Steiner.

Tell Rijim

Tell Ridżim, Tell Rijim Omar Dalle

Settlement and burial grounds

Location:

Iraq

Geographical/historical region:

Northern Mesopotamia

Dating:

  • Late Uruk period
  • Ninevite 5 period
  • Middle Bronze Age
  • Late Bronze Age (Middle Assyrian period)
  • Neo-Assyrian period
  • Achaemenid period(?)
  • Sassanid period(?)

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted in 1984–1985.
  • Excavations completed.

Director:

Piotr Bieliński

Most interesting finds:

  • Graves from the Ninevite 5 period
  • Fragments of residential buildings from the Middle Bronze Age and the Neo-Assyrian period
  • Four cylindrical seals and two fibulae from the Neo-Assyrian period
  • Graves from the Achaemenid or Sassanid period

Description of the site and excavations:

The site was located about 1 km west of the village of Raffaan, on an oval-shaped promontory hill (measuring 250 m by 100 m), which sloped down to the river on its northern side. The summit of the tell rose to about 28 m above the level of the river.

Tell Rijim was a multi-layered settlement site. On the summit six skeletal burials from the Sassanid period (3rd–6th century AD) were uncovered. One of the interesting finds from this burial ground was a bronze pin with a stylized representation of a horse.

Immediately below the surface the destroyed remains of Neo-Assyrian buildings were found, including paved courtyards, bread ovens and rectangular rooms built on stone foundations. The most valuable finds from this layer were four cylindrical seals dated to the second half of the 8th century BC.

Best-preserved are the remains of a small settlement of the Khabur Ware Culture, covering about 1 ha and surrounded by a defense wall, which existed in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. In the western part of the site a large fragment of a residential building was discovered, which consisted of an extensive courtyard (about 14 m by 14.5 m) with traces of stone-paving. A large vessel with a unique plastic decoration of appliqués depicting snakes, pairs of scorpions and a pair of four-legged creatures was found in this layer.

In the central part of the site two graves from the Ninevite 5 period (first half of the 3rd millennium BC) were uncovered. One was especially rich in grave goods, namely numerous pottery vessels which consisted of two kraters with high stems filled with 28 cups and a jug. One of the kraters and the jug had a painted decoration of geometrical and figurative motifs of stylized goats.

The oldest layers of settlement on the site were relics of clay walls from the late Uruk period (about 3500–3300 BC) and two children’s burials in kitchen vessels.

Tell Rafaan

Settlement and burial ground

Location:

Iraq
Right bank of the Upper Tigris in the Nineveh Governorate

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria

Dating:

Chalcolithic, early Uruk period, 3800–3500 BC

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted in 1984–1985 as part of the Eski Mosul Dam Salvage Project.
  • Excavations completed.

Directors:

Piotr Bieliński, Ryszard Mazurowski, Waldemar Chmielewski

Most interesting finds:

  • Grave in stone setting from the Uruk period (4th millennium BC)
  • Obsidian tools

Description of the site and excavations:

Polish excavations started in the spring of 1984 in the microregion of the Raffaan village on the right bank of the Tigris. It is naturally closed off from the south by low hills rising in a curve from the riverbank. Four settlement sites were identified there: Tell Raffaan, Tell Rijim, Tell Sand and Khirbet Mulali. There were also Palaeolithic sites discovered on the hills.

The Polish mission excavated in Tell Raffaan and Tell Rijim and surveyed the Palaeolithic sites. Piotr Bieliński directed the excavations and Ryszard Mazurowski was in charge of the survey, although Waldemar Chmielewski was formal director of the project. In Tell Saud and Khirbet Mulali worked Iraqi archaeologists. Tell Raffaan lay about 400 m east from the village of Raffaan on a small promontory hill rising 12 m above the river bank. Its steep slope faced the river. As there was a modern cemetery in the western part of the site, only its eastern part was excavated. It turned out to be very badly eroded. No traces of buildings were found in the trenches, only a large number of fragmented pottery vessels, flint sickle inserts and numerous obsidian flakes and tools. The most interesting find was a skeletal grave in stone setting, discovered on the eastern slope of the hill and furnished with three undecorated cups. The pottery found on the site was dated to the early Uruk period (3800–3500 BC).

Read more:

Bieliński, P. (1992). Tell Raffaan and Tell Rijim – First season of Polish excavation in the Eski Mosul Region – Iraq. Études et Travaux, 16, 273–278.

Bieliński, P. (1992). Tell Rijim and Tell Raffaan 1985 – Two campaigns of Polish excavations in Northern Iraq. Études et Travaux, 16, 279–288.

Reiche, A. (1989–1990). Polskie wykopaliska w rejonie Eski-Mosul w północnym Iraku w latach 1984–1987. Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie, 33–34, 653–671.

Nimrud

Kalhu, Kalchu, Kalach (Kalakh)

Town settlement site
City from the Iron Age period, capital of Assyria in the 9th–8th century BC

Location:

Iraq
Iraqi Nineveh Governorate, in the fork formed by the Tigris and the Great Zab (25 km to the south-east of Mosul)

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria

Dating:

Neo-Assyrian period (first half of the 1st millennium BC):

  • reign of Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC)
  • reign of Shalmaneser III (858–824 BC)
  • reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727 BC)

History of research:

  • Archaeological work conducted already in the 19th century by A.H. Layard and M. Mallowan, among other.
  • Polish excavations of the citadel in Nimrud in 1974–1976

Director:

Janusz Meuszyński (work ended after the tragic death of the director during his journey back to Poland after the third season)

Most interesting finds:

  • Partly uncovered unknown building from the time of Ashurnasirpal II (the so-called Central Building), probably one of the temples built by this ruler on the citadel
  • Lamassu statues from the structure built in the time of Shalmaneser III
  • Deposit of reliefs from the time of Tiglath-pileser III
  • Large deposit of pottery from one of the rooms of the Central Building

Description of the site and excavations:

Polish excavations in Nimrud in 1974–1976 concentrated on recreating the relief decoration of the Northwestern Palace from the 9th century BC, built by Ashurnasirpal II. and nearby, in the central part of the citadel.

This included drawing of detailed architectural plans and full inventory of stone slabs and their fragments, which had been left in place after the 19th-century excavations, and also identification of hundreds of known fragments of low reliefs which had been taken away from Nimrud in the past. As a result, it was possible to reconstruct whole relief compositions, taking into account also the presumed location of the fragments which had become scattered all over the world.

Excavations were also conducted in the central part of the nearby citadel. The relics of another building from the time of Ashurnasirpal II, probably one of the eight temples built by him on the citadel in Nimrud, were discovered there. Other important finds included a pair of lamassu sculptures from the building of Shalmaneser III (the successor of Ashurnasirpal II) and a deposit of reliefs from the time of one of the later rulers, Tiglath-pileser III.

The palace was destroyed in 2015.

Read more:

Plans, 3D visualizations of architecture, photographs and drawings of reliefs from Nimrud, including the ones excavated by the Poles, can be seen on the LEARNING SITES, Inc. website: http://www.learningsites.com/Frame_layout01.htm

Meuszyński, J. (1974). The throne-room of Aššur-naṣir-apli II. (Room B in the North-West Palace at Nimrud). Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, 64(1), 51–73.

Meuszyński, J. (1976). Neo-Assyrian reliefs from the central area of Nimrud citadel. Iraq, 38, 37–43.

Meuszyński, J. (1981). Die Rekonstruktion der Reliefdarstellungen und ihrer Anordnung im Nordwestpalast von Kalhu (Nimrud) (Raume B, C, D, E, F, G, H, L, N, P), Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.

Paley, S.M., and Sobolewski, R. (1981). A new reconstruction of Room Z in the North-West Palace of Aššurnaṣirpal II at Nimrud (Kalḫu). Iraq, 43, 85–99.

Sobolewski, R. (1982). The Shalmanaser III building in the central area of the Nimrud citadel, Archiv für Orientforschung, 19, 329–340.

Palmyra

Tadmor, Palmira

Settlement site:

ancient town and necropolis

Location:

Syria
Oasis in the northern Syrian Desert
Syrian Homs Governorate

Dating:

Mentions in sources indicate that a town settlement had existed in the oasis since at least the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. The archaeologically tested remains date from the Roman to the early Islamic period:

  • Roman period (1st century BC–4th century AD)
  • Byzantine period (5th–7th century AD)
  • Early Islamic period (7th–9th century AD)
  • From the 10th century the settlement was limited to buildings in the area of the temenos of the former Temple of Bel.
  • In the 13th century an Arab castle was built on a hill towering above the ruins of the city.

History of research:

Excavations of the Polish Archaeological Mission were conducted without interruption from 1959 until 2011.

Directors:

Kazimierz Michałowski (1959–1969), Anna Sadurska (1970–1972), Michał Gawlikowski (1973–2009), Grzegorz Majcherek (od 2010)

Most interesting finds:

  • Temple of Allat (1st–4th century AD) and two main sculptures: statue of Athena and architectural composition of a lion-guard in low relief
  • Building of principia – headquarters of the Roman camp command with the so-called Temple of the Standards
  • Underground tombs (hypogea) of Zabda and Alaine with perfectly preserved tomb reliefs (2nd–3rd century AD)
  • Two tower tombs of Kitot and Atenat in the Valley of Tombs (first half of the 1st century AD)
  • Multicolored mosaic from the banquet hall in one of the houses not far from the Great Colonnade (mid-3rd century AD)
  • Complex of Christian basilicas (5th–6th century AD)

Description of the site and excavations:

At the beginning of the excavations Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski defined two areas of research: the Camp of Diocletian (the western district of the city) and the Valley of Tombs (western necropolis), where work was conducted in 1959–1988. In the 1990s new research aims were set out (aspects of city infrastructure, city planning and residential architecture) and excavations were moved to the center of town in the vicinity of the Great Colonnade where a residential quarter was being explored since 1989.

In recent years work was concentrated on Palmyra of the later periods (Christian Palmyra), which included excavating the Byzantine basilicas in the district located to the north of the Great Colonnade. Other projects worth mentioning are: work on city fortifications and documentation of the Arab castle. The last discovery before the interruption of works was the establishing of the original location of the Palmyrene Tariff near the city agora.

Read more:

From the start the results of every campaign were published as part of a book series entitled Palmyre (8 volumes published 1962–1984). In 1966, also a journal dedicated to this site, Studia Palmyreńskie, was founded (13 volumes appeared until 2014 when the journal became a book series) http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/pl/studia-palmyrenskie/

Excavation reports from the last campaigns were published in the Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean journal http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/pl/pam-journal/

Selected literature:

Gawlikowski, M. (1973). Le temple palmyrénien. Étude d’épigraphie et de topographie historique [=Palmyra 6]. Warsaw: PWN.

Gawlikowski, M. (1984). Le Principia de Dioclétien « Temple des Enseignes » [Palmyra VIII]. Warsaw: PWN.

Gawlikowski, M. (2010). Palmyra. Preliminary report on the forty–fifth season of excavations, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 19, 517–526.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2007_XIX/517-526_Palmyra.pdf

Majcherek, G. (2012). Polish Archaeological Mission to Palmyra. Seasons 2008 and 2009. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 21, 459–479.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2011_XXIII_1/PAM_23_1_Palmyra_Gawlikowski.pdf

Bijan

Bijan Island

Settlement and fortress

Location:

Western Iraq

Iraq, island on the Euphrates

Dating:

  • Neo-Assyrian period (8th–7th century BC);
  • Parthian period (1st century BC–2nd century AD);
  • Roman period (first half of the 3rd century AD);
  • Early Islamic (Abbasid) period (9th–10th century AD)

Geographical/historical region:

Upper Mesopotamia, Assyria

History of research:

  • • Salvage excavations conducted as part of the Haditha Dam Salvage Project in 1979–1983 (8 excavation seasons).
  • Excavations completed.

Directors:

Michał Gawlikowski (the first 3 seasons), Maria Krogulska (the following 5 seasons)

Most interesting finds:

  • Assyrian fortress as a link in the chain of frontier defenses along the Euphrates
  • Pottery vessel with a magical inscription in Aramaic from the Parthian period
  • Bronze Parthian censer with a horse-shaped handle
  • Roman-period lamps and a lantern
  • Abbasid-period jugs, 9th century AD

Description of the site and excavations:

River island, elongated on the north–south axis and measuring 330 m by 75 m, which lies on the middle reach of the Euphrates between Ana and Haditha (about 25 km down the river from Ana) in western Iraq. It was cultivated in modern times: there was a date palm orchard and a noria (wheels used for lifting water for the purpose of irrigation) installed on the west bank. About 15% of the island’s surface was archaeologically examined. It is currently flooded by an artificial reservoir (Lake Qadisiyah).

Read more:

Gawlikowski, M. (1983). L’ile de Bijan sur la Moyen-Euphrate, une forteresse assyrienne et romaine. Archeologia, 178, 26–33.

Gawlikowski, M. (1985). Bijan in the Euphrates. Sumer, 42, 15–21.

Krogulska, M. (1987). Bijan – Lamps from the "Roman" layer. Mesopotamia, 22, 91–100.

Krogulska, M. (1987). Bijan. Archiv für Orientforschung, 34, 155–156.

Krogulska, M. (1990). Bijan. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 1, 10–13.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_1989_I/475.pdf

Krogulska, M. (1992). Bijan Island. Polish excavations on the middle Euphrates (Iraq). Études et Travaux, 16, 353–362.

Krogulska, M. and Stępniowski, F. (1995). Bijan polskie wykopaliska w Iraku w latach 1979–83. In M.L. Bernhard (ed.), Od Nilu do Eufratu. Polska archeologia śródziemnomorska 1981–1994 (pp. 127–134). Warszawa: Centrum Archeologii Śródziemnomorskiej UW.

Krogulska, M. and Zych, I. (2013). Roman clay lantern from Bijan Island (Iraq). Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 23, 651–662.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2010_XXII/PAM_22_Bijan_Krogulska_Zych.pdf

Mierzejewska, M. (2014), Abbasid basins from Bijan Island. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 23/1, 643–662.

http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/fileadmin/pam/PAM_2011_XXIII_1/PAM_23_1_Bijan_Mierzejewska.pdf

Reiche, A. (1987). Wykopaliska na wyspie Bidżan w Iraku. Rocznik Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie, 31, 201–218.

Reiche, A. (1992). Excavations on Bijan Island. The Graves. Études et Travaux, 16, 417–420.

Reiche, A. (1996). Early Islamic glass from Bijan Island (Iraq). In K. Bartl and S.R. Hauser (eds.), Continuity and Change in Northern Mesopotamia from the Hellenistic to the Early Islamic Period (pp. 195–217). Berlin: Reimer.

Rzeplińska, M. (2010). Terracotta from Bijan Island. Parthica, 12, 47–67. Stępniowski, F. (1992). Bijan in the Neo-Assyrian Period. Results of the Excavations in 1981 (Autumn) – 1983. Études et Travaux, 16, 425–434.

Tell as-Saadiya

Tell es-Saadiya, Tell el-Saadiya, Tell Saadiya

Location:

Iraq Middle-eastern Iraq Dijala River region, Jebel Hamrin

Historical region:

Mesopotamia/Transtigris

Dating:

  • Late phase of the Ubaid culture (Chalcolithic period, end of the 5th millennium BC–first half of the 4th millennium BC (ca 4000–3800 BC)
  • Residual traces from the Sassanid/Early Islamic period

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted as part of the Hamrin Dam Salvage Project.
  • First season of excavations in 1979.
  • Work interrupted in 1980 by the outbreak of Iran–Iraq war and not continued afterwards.

Directors:

Stefan Karol Kozłowski, Piotr Bieliński

Most interesting finds:

  • Children’s burials in urns with lids
  • Painted pottery vessels
  • A collection of stone tools

Description of the site and excavations:

Tell as-Saadiya is located on the left bank of Dijala, on the river terrace near Saadiya. The tell is about 85 km long, 75 m wide, rises more than 2.5 m above the level of the terrain and covers about 0.6 ha. From the north and west the sides of the hill were damaged by digging related to the building of the dam. A modern-day cemetery occupies the majority of the site. The work which concentrated on the southern and central part of the hill uncovered about 220 m2.

Read more:

Kozłowski, K.S. (1987). Chipped stone industry of the Ubaid site Tell el-Saadiya in Iraq (Hamrin). In J.-L. Huot (Ed.), La Préhistoire de la Mésopotamie (pp. 277–291). Paris.

Kozłowski, K.S. and Bieliński, P. (1979). Tell El Saadiya, Informator Archeologiczny, 13, 289–290.

Tell Amarna

Settlement site

Location:

Northern Syria
Middle Euphrates Valley

Geographical/historical region:

Eufratensis

Dating:

From the Halaf period (6th millennium BC) through the Byzantine period (5th century AD)

History of research:

  • Salvage excavations conducted by the mission from Université de Liège in 1991–1998.
  • In 1998, the remains of a Byzantine church with mosaics were uncovered.
  • In 2000–2001, the church was excavated by archaeologists and the mosaics were transferred to Damascus.
  • From November 2004 to March 2005 fragments of mosaics were under conservation in Damascus.

Directors:

Önhan Tunca (Université de Liège), Tomasz Waliszewski (PCMA UW), Krzysztof Chmielewski (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw)

Most interesting finds:

  • Painted fragments of pottery vessels from the Halaf period
  • Ceramic vessels from the Bronze Age
  • Terracotta figurines from the Bronze and Iron Ages
  • Cylindrical seal from the Bronze Age
  • Oil lamps from the Hellenistic period
  • Remains of an early Christian church
  • Floor mosaics dated to the first half of the 5th century AD

Description of the site and excavations:

During excavations conducted in Tell Amarna on the north of Syria by a team of Belgian archaeologists from the University of Liège, directed by Prof. Önhan Tunca, fragmentarily preserved ruins of a Byzantine church were found near the ancient remains of a 5 thousand-year-old settlement. These relics are dated to the end of the 4th century–beginning of the 5th century AD. Archaeologists and conservators from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, under the direction of Dr. Tomasz Waliszewski and Dr. Krzysztof Chmielewski, were asked to cooperate in restoring and interpreting this find. Due to the threat posed to the excavation site by agricultural works the mosaics were raised up and deposited in the storerooms of the Direction Générale des Antiquités et des Musées of the Arab Republic of Syria. Four years were needed to obtain the financial resources necessary for performing their conservation. Work conducted in Damascus in the autumn of 2004 and winter of 2005 by Polish, Syrian and Greek conservators was financed by the European Commission as part of the Culture 2000 program [Couleur de la chrétienté de l’Orient vers l’Occident. Une église du 5e siècle et ses mosaïques mises au jour à Tell Amarna (Syrie)].

An integral part of the project was an exhibition which was shown to the Belgian public in the Royal Museum of Mariemont in June 2005. The restored mosaics and other objects from the excavations were on display in the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw from 31 August to 2 October 2005, after which they were returned to Syria.

Read more:

Project’s website: http://shadow.pl/tellamarna/

Tunca, Ö., Waliszewski, T., and Koniordos, V. (Eds.). (2005). Tell Amarna in Syria. Colours of Christendom: from the 6th millennium BC painted pottery to the Byzantine mosaics. Catalogue of the exhibition, State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, August 30th–October 2nd, 2005, Brussels: Culture Lab éditions; Warsaw: Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne.

Tunca, Ö., Waliszewski, T., and Koniordos, V. (Eds.). (2011). Tell Amarna (Syrie) V. La basilique byzantine et ses mosaïques. Leuven: Peeters.

ORGANIZERS

We are all authors of this exhibition — those of us whose fascination has led us to the Near East to live our scientific adventure and those for whom the ancient heritage is a source of knowledge and foundation of culture.

Thanks are due all our collaborators archaeologists, conservators, architects, documentalists, and all friends of the ancient heritage of Syria and Iraq for their support ad for sharing with us their knowledge and materials.

Thanks to the authors of the images and drawings on exhibition: Waldemarowi Jerke, Andrzejowi Reiche oraz Piotrowi Bielińskiemu, Ryszardowi Bodytko, Pawłowi Ciepielewskiemu, Michałowi Gawlikowskiemu, Ryszardowi F. Mazurowskiemu, Katarzynie Meyzie, Marcie Momot, Tomaszowi Myjakowi, Aleksandrze Oleksiak, Markowi Puszkarskiemu, Łukaszowi Rutkowskiemu, Franciszkowi Markowi Stępniowskiemu, Agnieszce Szymczak, Darii Tarara, Marcinowi Wagnerowi, Tomaszowi Waliszewskiemu, Jerzemu Wierzbickiemu, Dobrochnie Zielińskiej

All the illustrations are from the Archive of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw or have been lent for display at the present exhibition. We have made every effort to establish the copyrights to all images. We apologize for all inaccuracies and omissions.

The exhibition was organized by:

Exhibition curator: Łukasz Rutkowski
Exhibition and conference coordinator: Zuzanna Wygnańska
Exhibition design and art: Teresa Witkowska
Execution: ASTO Adam Stojak i MASTERMEDIA Janusz Mikołajewicz we współpracy z MOYO Teresa Witkowska
Exhibition texts: Grzegorz Majcherek, Łukasz Rutkowski, Iwona Zych
Editing and translation: Michał Gawlikowski, Renata Kucharczyk, Agnieszka Szymczak, Urszula Wicenciak, Aleksandra Zych and SIWA Translations
Model of the Lion of Allat for the exhibition made by students of the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Artworks, Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.
Computer presentation: : Łukasz Rutkowski and team

WEBPAGE:
Coordination: Agnieszka Szymczak, Robert Mahler
Texts and editing: Łukasz Rutkowski oraz Dorota Ławecka, Andrzej Reiche, Agnieszka Szymczak, Urszula Wicenciak, Zuzanna Wygnańska
Translation: Aleksandra Zych
IT: Kamil Ciba z MOYO Teresa Witkowska
We were assisted by: Ali al-Ibadi, Ewa Chrzanowska, Eva Eshak, Władysław Jurkow, Bartosz Markowski, Ewa Parandowska, Katarzyna Pawłowska, Andrzej Reiche, Joanna Rądkowska, Ryszard Sobolewski, Agnieszka Szulc-Kajak, Daria Tarara, Anna Tomkowska, Łukasz Wojnarowicz, Aleksandra Zych and students of the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Artworks of ASP and the staff of the PCMA.

Patronage of honor

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