Dr. Mark Schwartz

Photos of The Hirbemerdon Tepe Archaeological Project

The High Mound (Area A)

After two seasons of archaeological work, it is possible to clearly define the chronological sequence in the High Mound. The first phase of occupation  is badly ruined and is marked by a few scattered remains of architectural features and by the presence of Islamic Glazed Ware.

The stratigraphically subsequent layer consists in a series of badly disturbed stone walls, a few associated floors were available, and numerous pits. Moreover, the material culture associated with these features is typical of a local Iron Age horizon that is marked by the presence of Grooved Ware, jars with painted triangles, small hole mouth jars slightly burnished on the exterior, a fragment of a spouted jar, and a small Plain Simple Ware jar with a knobbed decoration along the rim.  

In the High Mound, a few remains can be dated to a Late Bronze Age period. This phase is marked by the presence of a few fragments of 'younger' Khabur Ware and Nuzi Ware. It is interesting to notice that a few complete skeletons of equids were found laying on top of some of the outer surfaces belonging to this specific period.

The Middle Bronze Age architectural complex - High Mound

It is during the Middle Bronze Age period (ca. 2000-1600 BC) that the whole site was extensively occupied and, in particular, the High Mound was marked by the construction of a large architectural complex. The whole complex was characterized by a series of terraces leveling the natural slope of the hill and a series of buildings with high-rise stone foundations. Double-walls separated clusters of rooms, restricting access to and from these rooms and subdividing the complex into several agglutinated sections.  In terms of functionality, the whole complex appears to be connected with working activities probably related to food processing and storage. This assumption is based on the high number of storage and cooking jars, as well as basalt grinding stones, limestone mortars, loom weights and decorated portable hearths found in situ.

A lid of cooking ware in situ in of the rooms of the MBA architectural complex - High Mound

Moreover, The overall architectural plan of this complex was centered on a long stone paved walkway running E-W. One steep staircase and a stepped corridor functioned as a link between two different terraces, and also served to link the northern section of the architectural complex with southern ones. 

The architectural complex (MBA) - High Mound

However, the long walkway and the steep staircase of the architectural complex led to a large external courtyard which was probably part of the central and most important section of the whole complex. This section of the architectural complex appears to have had a different function as compared to the rest of the complex. This assumption is based on the fact that numerous votive plaques, figurines and decorated vessels were found only in this area.

Votive plaques from the architectural complex (MBA) - High Mound

Female figurine from the architectural complex (MBA) - High Mound

Head of a figurine from the architectural complex (MBA) - High Mound

Decorated jar from the architectural complex (MBA) - High Mound

In terms of pottery analysis, the Area A architectural complex reflects what has been found throughout the entire site and is mainly characterized by the production of pottery vessels belonging to the so-called Red Brown Wash Ware (RBWW) assemblage. Moreover, the pottery found in the architectural complex is characterized by an increased presence of vessels with carinated shapes -- i.e. bowls and beakers -- and large storage jars. Furthermore, the bowls of the later RBWW assemblage are definable by a clearer carination along the vessel shoulder. From among the carinated vessels, beakers with slightly everted rims appear as a constant marker for this specific phase. These also have a distinctive 3-groove decoration along the outer surface, just below the carination. The discovery of a few potsherds of painted pottery (pseudo-Khabur) and of Gray Burnished Ware are particularly helpful in better defining the relative chronology of the architectural complex to the first half of the Second Millennium BC 

A carinated cup of the Red Brown Wash Ware (RBWW) assemblage (MBA) 

A carinated jar (RBWW) with an incised wavy line decoration (MBA) 

A beaker of the Gray Burnished Ware assemblage (MBA) 

A jar of the Painted Ware (pseudo-Khabur) assemblage (MBA) 

Other objects found within he architectural complex (e.g. a stone mould for the production of bronze shaft-hole axe) can help in defining the chronological framework of the whole complex as well as defining elements for a comparison with similar sites of both central Anatolia and northern Syria and Mesopotamia.  

A stone mould for the production of bronze shaft-hole axes (MBA)

The presence of numerous portable hearths is also another fundamental element for better understanding of the cultural background of the people settled at Hirbemerdon Tepe.

Portable hearths from the architectural complex - High Mound

  Last Modified Date: March 9, 2016
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