Tell Halaf Grabungsprojekt

Area A

Dr. Lutz Martin

In Area A, excavations started in two areas: at the south-east bastion of the «West-Palast» (Hilani) and south of the trench in the centre of the citadel, which had already been excavated by Max von Oppenheim. In the course of the campaign we managed to expose the southeastern bastion completely. The structure still rising to about 1.5 m is the south-east corner of the so-called «Altbau» («Old Building»). The ground plan of the «Altbau» corresponds largely to the later Hilani commissioned by Kapara, which was erected on the remains of the «Altbau». Here, Kapara’s building has survived to a few courses of mudbricks, only. The orthostats of the palace arose above the structures of the «Altbau» (Fig. 1).

By extending the excavations to the north we came upon the west tower of the «Skorpionentor». The «Skorpionentor» was the access to the terrace of the «West-Palast». At the gate, the orthostats fallen off the west tower still lay in the same position as Oppenheim had found them in 1911/1912. Also the paved path leading ramp-like to the terrace of the palace is still partly preserved. In connection with the investigations in Area B, the remains of the western part of the building have been completely exposed.
The rediscovery of the south-east bastion and of the «Skorpionentor» provided a quantity of points that sufficed to bring the new grid into concordance with the one used by Max von Oppenheim. The exposed areas will also be the starting-points for the planned stratigraphical investigations.

Research concerning the building structure of the Iron Age citadel is still hampered by a cemetery right in the centre so that, for the time being, work in the central part of the citadel is restricted to Max von Oppenheim’s sounding running north-south. The area under investigation is situated at the eastern limits of the so-called «Lehmziegelmassiv». The northern part of this structure is contemporaneous to the period of the «Altbau»; the former was extended southward, later on. Obviously it was intended to be the terrace of a larger building. Max von Oppenheim had only found scarce building remains. But it was here, in the southern extension of the terrace, that he discovered two monumental tomb sculptures, which had not been removed but covered by the mud-brick substructure (Fig. 2).
Under Hellenistic building remains, two rooms, presumably belonging to a larger building, were exposed. According to a preliminary evaluation of the ceramics and the inventories of the rooms, the building dates to the 7th century B.C., the time when Assyrian governors resided at Tell Halaf (Fig. 3). Excavations in this area also proved that the mudbrick terrace continues to the east and was used as the foundation of a larger building or buildings, in Neo-Assyrian times.

(Translation: B. Finkbeiner / A. Sollee / B. Sollee)

1Foundations of the southeastern bastion of the «West-Palast» and of the western tower of the «Skorpionentor» (Photo: G. Mirsch)
2«Lehmziegelmassiv» with room AA of building A 1 (Photo: G. Mirsch)
3Gold earring from room AA of building A 1 (Photo: G. Mirsch)
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