Tell Halaf Grabungsprojekt

Area B

Dr. Jörg Becker

Excavations on the Northern Slope
Successively, the investigations of the prehistoric settlement were concentrated on the area of the northern slope in the form of large-scale excavations covering an area of about 600 m². Additionally, here, the highest point of the citadel offers us the opportunity to establish the entire stratigraphy of the site, because the founding of the settlement presents itself especially along the northern façade of the citadel, as was also noticed by the earlier excavators. The first people settled at the site around 6500 B.C on a natural elevation. Due to its simple, mostly unpainted pottery, this stage of civilization is called «altmonochrom». It is followed by the intensive, 5.5-6.0 m thick levels of settlement of the Halaf period which encompasses all stages of the Halaf culture (Fig. 1).

Transitional Phase («Halaf-‘Ubaid-Transitional»)
A transitional phase («Halaf-‘Ubaid-Transitional») marks the transformation to the north Mesopotamian ‘Obed culture (late 6th and 5th millennium B.C.) which is followed by another one to the local late Chalcolithic (4th millennium B.C.) The pottery of the latter sporadically shows influences of the south Mesopotamian Uruk culture (esp. so-called «beveled rim bowls» or, occasionally, conical clay cones). The upper ca. 8 m finally represent the development from the Early Iron Age to the Hellenistic period (ca. 12th to 3rd century B.C.).
All in all, the prehistoric settlement covers about 10 m at this site, most of which is accounted for by the Halaf period (Fig. 2).

Halaf-‘Obed transition
The crouched burial of an adolescent man, who had been buried inside a small, rectangular room (grave 20) dates back to the Halaf-‘Obed transition between 5300 and 5200 B.C: at his feet, a typical jar decorated with bichrome painting in dull colors was set up ((Fig. 3). Afterwards, the building was covered by a mudbrick terrace. The walls resting upon the latter could only be excavated on a small scale and so far, they do not offer any hints concerning the ground plan of the building. The pottery indicates that this building level is to be dated back to the end of the ‘Obed period or the beginning of the local late Chalcolithic period (about 4000 B.C.).

(Translation: A. Sollee / B. Sollee)

1View of the northern slope of Tell Halaf (Photo: G. Mirsch)
2View of the new excavations on the northern slope of Tell Halaf (Photo: G. Mirsch)
3Vessel from grave 20. Northern slope of Tell Halaf. (Photo: G. Mirsch)
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