Tell Halaf Grabungsprojekt

Area A

Raphaela Heitmann M.A.

In the second season, work was carried out in different parts of Area A simultaneously. The results at the northeastern corner of the «West-Palast», as well as the trenches on the «Lehmziegelmassiv», were of great interest.

The investigations at the northeastern corner of the «West-Palast» delivered important results concerning the history of the building and the older structures in this area. Northeast of the «West-Palast», Team B had already excavated an older Iron Age wall (Building A 4) with two projections during the first season. This year, Team A planned to investigate the western part of the building. Earlier excavations showed that only part of the northern and western walls of building A 4 have been preserved. Additionally, the southern part was cut by the construction of the «West-Palast» (Building A 2). Therefore, it is impossible to make further assumptions concerning the dimensions of the building. Unfortunately, no floor has survived, because a deep sounding («Brunnengrabung») of the old excavations was located here (Fig. 1). At present, the building cannot be dated precisely.

The current investigations did not confirm the old excavators’ assumption that the «West-Palast» rested upon the remains of an older building, the so-called «Altbau». The old excavators differentiated between «Altbau» and «Tempel-Palast» mainly by the different consistency and color of the mudbricks used in constructing the buildings. According to them, light and firm bricks were used for the «Altbau», whereas the «Tempel-Palast» was built of red bricks. In the course of this year’s investigations at the northeastern bastion, it was discovered that the bottom layers of the foundations consists of red mudbricks followed by a number of courses of yellow bricks which alternate with red bricks. Furthermore, it was established that the foundations were set into a 3,00 m deep foundation pit that cut into very firm, homogenous, loamy soil. In the 1950 publication, the authors refer to a pile leaning against the walls of the substructure. This does not seem to make sense, since within the pile, four courses of mudbricks were recognized, which must belong to older structures built prior to the construction of the «West-Palast» (Fig. 2).

To sum up, one could state that, according to today’s discoveries, the «West-Palast» does not rest upon the remnants of an older building. If a predecessor to this building should have existed, it was removed before the «West-Palast» was built. Instead, multi-phased Iron Age structures were observed in the western part of the citadel.

This summer, the work that had been carried out in the area of the «Lehmziegelmassiv» during the past campaign was extended with the aim of reaching the level of building A 1 on a greater scale.

In the progress, extensive discoveries were made about the structure of the Hellenistic architecture that had been revealed in the previous campaign: by now, two rooms can be ascribed to this building (A 3). They are connected to one another by a door with a threshold. In the western room A 3:AA, the base of a column was found in the axis of the doorway. Only a few remains of the northern boundary of the room were found. Its western limits are not preserved, probably because they were removed during the earlier excavations. The eastern wall of the next room (A 3:AB) to the east in the newly opened square 6906 could not be detected anymore, either. The mudbricks were still clearly visible in this area , but only three courses were left. The wall was founded upon a compact pisé-wall foundation. White plaster was still attached to parts of the rising wall.

To a small extent the floor of the Assyrian building (A 1) was reached in square 6906 (Fig. 3-4). It represents an open space to the east of room A 1:AA. The floor consists of basalt stones that are partially covered by a pebble surface. We hope to clarify these findings and their connection to building A 1 in future campaigns.

Further investigations were executed in squares 7009 and 7010 to the east of the mudbrick terrace. Presently, the architecture, ceramics, and additional smaller discoveries can be dated to the Hellenistic period. A more precise interpretation of this structure is not yet possible.

A bronze fibula that was found in the northern section of square 7009, where parts of wall Inst. A55 have been excavated, points out that Neo-Assyrian structures are to be expected here, too.

(Translation: A. Sollee / B. Sollee)

1Older Iron Age structures in front of the northeastern bastion of the «West-Palast» (Photo: G. Mirsch)
2Eastern section with foundation pit of the northeastern bastion (Photo: G. Mirsch)
3Paved court of building A 1 with Hellenistic pit (Photo: G. Mirsch)
4Small, complete ceramic-beaker, 7th century B.C. (Photo: G. Mirsch)
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