Herodotus Returns

French excavation commences at Arbil, Iraq
April 23, 2010, 5:58 pm
Filed under: Iraq | Tags: , , ,

Arbil, Iraq, where Czech archaeologists recently uncovered 200,000-year-old evidence of hominid activity, will see more attention from archaeologists with an French excavation. Arbil is one of the longest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

A French-funded archaeology team is working on the first excavations in Iraq’s northern Kurdish areas after seven years of conflict, the latest effort to save the country’s treasures from ruin.

Iraq, which the ancient Greeks called Mesopotamia or ‘land between the rivers’ because of the Tigris and Euphrates that flow through it, is regarded by archaeologists as a cradle of civilization.

But historic sites have been neglected and damaged by decades of war, sanctions and looting and Iraqi officials say the country needs millions of dollars to reverse the damage.

More on the excavations commencing in Iraq.


Arbil Iraq Discovery Could be Earliest Evidence of Humans in the Region
March 18, 2010, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Hunter-Gatherer, Iraq, Neanderthals | Tags: , , , ,

Czech archaeologists have excavated remains of a prehistoric settlement in Arbil, north Iraq, which could date back as far back 200,000 years, placing it among the earliest evidence of hominid activity in the region.

The expedition, led by Dr. Karel Novacek from the University of West Bohemia in Plzen, unearthed clusters of stone artifacts at the bottom of a 9-meter-deep pit dug just outside the tell, or citadel, in Arbil.

Novacek recently explained to Heritage Key that the excavated stone tools, comprised of flakes, scrapers and cores, can be traced back to the Late Middle Paleolithic Age (200,000-40,000 years before present). These discoveries align with excavations carried out by Americans in the 1950s in the nearby plains between Kirkuk and Suleymaniya.

To describe the find as a ‘settlement’ may be bold: Middle Paleolithic man, after all, was a hunter-gatherer, meaning he made camps, but never permanently settled anywhere. With that said, Novacek pointed out that the team “found two concentrations of the stone artifacts in roughly the same stratigraphic position at approximately 220 m distance,” suggesting a site of some significance. Additionally, Novacek noted that these recently excavated artifacts are unique because they were found ‘in situ,’ meaning untouched, whereas other Middle Paleolithic finds in the area had been shifted.

Read more about the Arbil find at Heritage Key.

Ancient Sumerian desert settlement found in Iraq
January 9, 2010, 7:18 am
Filed under: Iraq, Sumer | Tags: , , ,

A 4,000-year-old settlement, rich in ancient artifacts, has been found in southern Iraq. I haven’t seen much on artifacts recovered, but be sure to check in as more news comes up.

Iraqi archaeologists said on Friday they have discovered a 4,000-year-old Sumerian settlement in southern Iraq, yielding a bounty of historical artefacts.

The site, in the southern province of Dhi Qar, is in the desert near ancient Ur, the biblical birthplace of Abraham.

“There are walls and cornerstones carrying Sumerian writings, dating back to the era of the third Sumerian dynasty,” said Abdul Amir al-Hamdani, head of the provincial government’s archaeology department.

Hamdani said the artefacts, which included sickles and knives, largely dated back to around 2000 BC, during the rule of King Amarsin, the third king of the third Sumerian dynasty.

More on the ancient Sumerian settlement.