Tell Halaf in northeast Syria is one of the most important sites in the Near East. Following a hiatus after Max Freiherr von Oppenheim’s excavations at the site (1911–1913, 1929), archaeological work was resumed between 2006 and 2010 by a Syrian-German team of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums Damascus and the Vorderasiatisches Museum Berlin in cooperation with the Martin Luther University Halle, the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen as well as the University of Bern. Since the end of the excavations in 2011, the long-term project funded by the German Research Foundation has been working on the final publication of the results of the excavation campaigns 2006 to 2021.
Following the completion of the studies on the Assyrian governor's palace, the project’s focus currently lies on publishing the results of the investigations in the lower town of the ancient settlement as well as conducting studies on artefacts and pottery finds from the 2006–2010 excavations. The information gained from the Assyrian residential buildings that were uncovered on the mud-brick platform at the southern end of the citadel and in the eastern lower city, exhibit new facettes of the settlement’s architecture and material culture and will contribute to understand Guzana in its role as a provincial capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Furthermore, the evaluation of the data unexpectedly revealed that especially the younger phases of occupation on the citadel, which date to the Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods, yields significant new information. These findings are not only of interest for the settlement development at Tell Halaf, but are of transregional importance for the cultural-historical development of Northern Mesopotamia during the late periods, which, to date, has not been examined properly.
The project "Excavations at Tell Halaf - Final Publication" contributes to the preservation of cultural heritage in a crisis region. In view of the military conflicts in the Syrian-Turkish border area and the resulting destruction of cultural heritage, the project is therefore of particular importance.
Project team: Dr. Lutz Martin, Dr. Elisabeth Katzy, Dr. Alexander Sollee, Dr. Uwe Sievrtsen, Mohamad Fakhro (Universität Tübingen)
Project partners: Universität Tübingen, Universität Halle, Universität Bern
Funding: German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG))
Duration: Until February 2022
Project website: www.grabung-halaf.de