Gird-i Surezha Excavation Project

Since 2012, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has been using multidisciplinary methods to explore the Upper Mesopotamian site of Tell Surezha, located on the Erbil Plain in the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq. Directed by Prof. Gil Stein (U. Chicago) and co-directed by Dr. Michael Fisher (MPI-GEA), the project focuses on the Chalcolithic occupation of the high mound, which spans the 6th-4th millennia BCE. Fieldwork activities employ 3D mapping, controlled surface collections, and stratigraphic excavations, while instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), and archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological analyses are performed in the laboratory. The goal of the project is to improve understanding of emergent social complexity in Chalcolithic northern Mesopotamia and corresponding processes of urbanisation. INAA has demonstrated early patterns of trans-regional exchange, as well as local emulation practices, while study of the flora and fauna suggest shifts in economic strategies toward specialisation and commensal consumption activity in the 5th millennium BC.

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