Dr. Mark Schwartz

Photos of The Hirbemerdon Tepe Archaeological Project

The Outer Town (Area B)

In 2005 and 2006, the archaeologists aimed at verifying the information obtained through the magnetic gradiometer survey in both the Outer Town and the High Mound. As a result, in the Outer Town it has been possible to identified the following archaeological phase:

Iron Age.
This archaeological phase is recognizable only in the western part of the trench where a badly disturbed surface was identified. The material culture associated with this surface contains objects belonging to a later Iron Age horizon, such as a fragment of Grooved Ware, a spouted vessel, a potsherd of a deep ceramic bowl, a basalt bowl with a ring-base and grooved rim, and a fragment of a grooved basalt grinding maul. The material culture discovered in this area is closely comparable to the Iron Age levels found at numerous other sites of the upper Tigris valley. The two basalt objects can also be compared to similar artifacts found in Syro-Anatolian sites dating back to the Iron Age period and the late Neo-Assyrian period. 

Middle Bronze Age. This archaeological phase is characterized by the presence of an area dedicated to craft manufacturing activities. In terms of architectural features, the remains of a few badly preserved walls and a thick wall with stone foundations with a N-S direction were brought to light. These narrow walls are constructed of small-sized stones whose function it was to separate the open space into defined areas.

Architectural features of the MBA in the Outer Town

The material culture associated with this phase is characterized by the constant presence of Red Brown Wash Ware (RBWW) and a few potsherds of Painted Ware (pseudo-Khabur), that have close comparisons to other Middle Bronze Age sites of the upper Tigris valley, as well as northern Syria and central/eastern Anatolia. RBWW is a very distinguishable local pottery assemblage, rarely found in other similar archaeological contexts outside of the upper Tigris valley. It is also important to note that throughout the entire site of Hirbemerdon Tepe the predominant presence of RBWW is striking, especially if this data is compared to other pottery assemblages found at the site.  The RBWW assemblage has a distinctive surface treatment characterized by a highly burnished, monochrome or bi-chrome decoration, ranging in color from 'red' to 'dusky red' and covering either the entire exterior vessel body or only its upper rim-shoulder section. In terms of clays and tempers, it is possible to differentiate between 'fine' and 'medium to coarse' wares. The first category is usually associated with bowls and beakers, while the latter is related to larger shapes, mainly storage jars. From among the fine wares, it is possible to define the following shapes: carinated beakers, carinated bowls with a slightly everted rim, globular bowls with a groove below the rim, and bowls with a club-shape rim. RBWW coarse ware is instead characterized by hole mouth and short necked jars with thickened or grooved rims. This repertoire of storage jars has strong similarities with contemporaneous contexts at other sites along the upper Tigris valley.

Late Early Bronze Age. The overall architectural structures of this phase was founded on top of a thick platform composed of a compacted deposit of pebbles and small-sized stones. The discovery of a foundation deposit inside a niche embedded in the stone platform suggests a ritual importance given to the platform's construction by the ancient inhabitants. The deposit consists of a cache of two wedged fine ware globular bowls, both with a ring-base and club-shape rim.

One of the most interesting aspects of this phase is related to the category of pottery represented by these two bowls: the larger one belongs to the RBWW assemblage, while the smaller one is a Dark Rimmed Orange Bowl. The DROB is a type of bowl with a distinctive dark red dusky colored band along the exterior rim and chronologically belongs to a late Third Millennium BC horizon as demonstrated by comparisons with other late Third Millennium BC (post-Akkadian) examples found at Tell Brak/Nagar, Tell Mozan/Urkesh, Uctepe, Kavusan Tepe, and Ziyaret Tepe.  More DROB have been found in these later, and it is interesting to notice that these potsherds are never found in association with the Painted Ware (pseudo-Khabur Ware).

Foundation deposit of the late Third Millennium BC- Outer Town (Area B)

Two bowls (Red Brown Wash Ware-above- & Dark Rimmed Orange Bowl-below) found in a foundation deposit of the late Third Millennium BC - Area B

ChalcolithicThe earliest phase of occupation in the Outer Town belongs to a local Chalcolithic horizon (ca. first half of the Fourth Millennium BC). This phase is found below the above-mentioned yellowish sandy layer and consists in badly preserved surfaces and pits. This archaeological phase is characterized by an overwhelming presence of large potsherds comprised primarily of handmade vessels of the cream-brown Chaff-Faced Ware category. The shapes of these vessels are very simple and range from globular bowls with simple rims, to jars with short necks and straight or slightly everted rims. This material is easily comparable to similar objects found in the upper Tigris valley and in other Anatolian regions further north and east of Hirbemerdon Tepe In terms of pottery typology, one of the Chaff-Faced Ware globular bowls with patterns of scraping along the rim can be compared to other vessels found in Chalcolithic contexts in the upper Tigris valley

A beaker and a piece of obsidian (found inside) - Chalcolithic (Area B)

  Last Modified Date: March 11, 2016
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