LCANE Spring 2021 lecture series abstracts

25 Jan Jaafar Jotheri (Al-Qadisiyah University, Iraq): The Sumerian Irrigation System: New Fieldwork results from Eridu region

The study is part of an ongoing project funded by The British Institute for the Study of Iraq awarded to an Iraqi – British team consisting of Louise Rayne (University of Newcastle, Michelle de Gruchy (Durham University), Jaafar Jotheri (University of Al-Qadisiyah, Raheem Abdan (University of Thi-Qar). The study area hosts some of the earliest cities (e.g. Eridu and Ubaid) and ancient irrigation networks. We have carried out new fieldwork to investigate these water systems and mapped them in detail. Moreover, we dug trenches across these irrigation canals and collected organic materials for 14C radiocarbon dating to reconstruct changes in the landscape of the Eridu region. The irrigation systems in this region had a herringbone layout, which developed as a result of the elaboration of crevasse splays along raised levees. Crevasse splays are fan-shaped features formed when the channel levee has been breached during stages of flooding and floodwaters have overflowed through swales or breaches. We concluded that  these geomorphological features represent the  ancient farms of the Eridu region and that these were hydraulic landscapes which functioned as sustainable systems within environmental niches modified by humans.

8 Feb Çiğdem Maner (Koç University, Istanbul): Shared Landscapes on Karacadağ (Konya) from the Late Bronze Age until Today

The Karacadağ in Konya is an ideal landscape to study the development, the community relations of pastoral societies and the shared landscape. The pastures of the mountain have been used as meadows at least from the Hittite periods onwards until today. Karacadağ is probably Mount Arlanta, which is mentioned on the Bronze Tablet from Boğazköy – Hattusa (13th century BC), and describes among others the frontiers of Hatti and Tarhuntassa. In this talk I will discuss how ethnographical studies have helped to understand and reconstruct frontiers and the importance of the landscape nowadays, which in turn could help us to understand the frontier descriptions on the Bronze Tablet.


22 Feb Jacob Jawdat (SBAH, Baghdad): Looking for the End: Another Perspective on the Late Eshnunna Dynasty

The Diyala region is a major path between the north and south of Mesopotamia and an important meeting point for different civilizations, as well as a principal strategic center between Mesopotamia and ancient Persia, it is worthy of a great importance. This region had remained as a political conflict zone at the first half of second millennium, this reason making it a different nature, at least politically, thus leading to many political conflicts between the kings of the first dynasty of  Babylon, specifically Hammurapi and Samsu-iluna with the kings and princes in this region. they tried always to gain independence from the power of Babylon, and build alliances, including enabling them to repel threats that coming from Babylon. Because of  new epigraphic material available in the Iraq Museum, I found some very useful information that led me to choose this subject to make research on the reign of the king Iluni. We didn’t know a lot of historical information about the end of the Eshnunna dynasty, only small snippets being available that rely on references mentioned in the other texts. We try to make a comprehensive evaluation then re-extrapolation of this information according to the new texts including rearrangement of information referred to previously by other scholars.

 Fig. Old Babylonian Sites in the Hamrin Basin.

8 Mar Hasan Peker (Istanbul University): New Epigraphic Discoveries of the Turco-Italian Expedition at Karkemish

22 Mar Saber Parian (Karaj, Iran): New research on the Elamite version of the Behistun inscription

The Behistun inscription is famous for its important role in decipherment of other cuneiform texts. The inscription is situated high up on a precipice and has been almost inaccessible to people. This has largely prevented it from human damages, while has made it difficult for scholars to reach and close study its cuneiform texts. Over the centuries, some important portions of its texts have been severely eroded from elements and became illegible. Meanwhile, assyriologists have closely studied its cuneiform texts in a few occasions and they mostly provided its copies using methods that are today dated with less accuracy in representing original engravings in detail. Since 2013, I have conducted research aimed at providing a new edition of the Elamite version of the Behistun inscription based on accurate copies I have produced directly therefrom. In order to secure such copies, I have taken many photographs and then measured the dimensions of the inscription. The photographs were analyzed and scaled using Adobe Photoshop. This method led me to the preparation of the hand copies of the entire Elamite version. Moreover, using PS’s layer tools, I have restored damaged signs directly in photographs. This method yielded hybrid images depicting the current state of the inscription as well as matching restorations. These materials have been the basis for preparing a new edition of the Elamite version.

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