The Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Expedition started in 1997 with a small team of three archaeologists conducting surface survey and topographic mapping. Now in our 15th season, our field crew typically comprises two dozen archaeologists and other specialists, as well as fifty or so local Turkish workers.
The Assyrian city of Tushhan was about 32 hectares (= 80 acres) at its largest extent and probably housed a population of about 5,000. A site this large can never be fully excavated, so we have to carefully select a few areas for intensive scientific excavation. Most summers we excavate in three or four different areas of the site at the same time, depending on our current research questions and personnel.
In 2011, we are digging in one area of the site that has long been part of our excavations, namely the “Bronze Palace” on the high citadel mound. We are also going to start two new areas of excavation, both in the low flat “lower town” that surrounds the citadel. The first of these is an area of Assyrian public housing, that is where we expect the common people lived. The second is a large structure whose function is not clear, but which may represent a wealthy Assyrian’s house or perhaps a small governmental building. I’ll tell you more later about how we know the location of these structures before we start digging!
This blog will follow all three excavation projects as they unfold…