The land behind the land behind Baghdad: archaeological landscapes of the Upper Diyala (Sirwan) River Valley

Casana, J. and Glatz, C. (2017) The land behind the land behind Baghdad: archaeological landscapes of the Upper Diyala (Sirwan) River Valley. Iraq, 79, pp. 47-69. (doi: 10.1017/irq.2017.3)

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Abstract

While the Diyala (Kurdish Sirwan) River Valley is storied in Near Eastern archaeology as home to the Oriental Institute’s excavations in the 1930s as well as to Robert McC. Adams’ pioneering archaeological survey, The Land Behind Baghdad, the upper reaches of the river valley remain almost unknown to modern scholarship. Yet this region, at the interface between irrigated lowland Mesopotamia and the Zagros highlands to the north and east, has long been hypothesized as central to the origins and development of complex societies. It was hotly contested by Bronze Age imperial powers, and offered one of the principle access routes connecting Mespotamia to the Iranian Plateau and beyond. This paper presents an interim report of the Sirwan Regional Project, a regional archaeological survey undertaken from 2013–2015 in a 4000 square kilometre area between the modern city of Darbandikhan and the plains south of Kalar. Encompassing a wide range of environments, from the rugged uplands of the Zagros front ranges to the rich irrigated basins of the Middle Diyala, the project has already discovered a wealth of previously unknown archaeological sites ranging in date from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic through the modern period. Following an overview of the physical geography of the Upper Diyala/Sirwan, this paper highlights key findings that are beginning to transform our understanding of this historically important but poorly known region.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Glatz, Professor Claudia
Authors: Casana, J., and Glatz, C.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Iraq
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0021-0889
ISSN (Online):2053-4744
Published Online:08 May 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The British Institute for the Study of Iraq
First Published:First published in Iraq 79: 47-69
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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