Operation 2


In the operation 2 situated on the west side of the area “Assur West” the work was concentrated on two tasks: excavating of the Late Assyrian house in the north and the continuation of the deep sounding in the central part of the trench.

 Therefore the northern part of the excavation area was extended in all directions and the plan of a large Late Assyrian building with a central courtyard with paved floor of baked bricks was almost completed. The limits of the courtyard (2G1) of a size of more than 90 m square could be identified. Its mud-brick walls are mostly destroyed. Their foundations around the courtyard were made of stones, sherds and mud. The courtyard was connected in the north-east with a large rectangular room (2G3) which is totally disturbed in its north-eastern part. It seems to be the main room of the building.

 The south-eastern side of this building consisted of a row of three rooms. In the northern room (2H1) 18 loomweights and a broken Neo Assyrian clay tablet were found on the floor. The spherical loomweights are the only indication of the function of one of the rooms in the whole house. Similar objects were found during the season 2000 in the south-western house (room 1E1) in the operation 1 (for further references to similar objects, see Curtis / Green 1997, 18). To the south of this building a narrow street was discovered. It runs in the same direction as the street revealed last year in the square F. At the eastern side of the street a corner of another building was located, but until now only a small rectangular chamber with a sarcophagus (grave no. 24) inside has been excavated.

 The northern part of the Late Assyrian building has to be investigated in the next season. In the north-eastern corner of the trench the excavation reached an upper level with mud-brick walls running in a similar direction to the walls of the building with the paved courtyard. The rooms of this level had a pavement with stones and baked bricks. This latest level must date from the post-Assyrian period because one of these bricks with an inscription of the king Sennacherib (704–681) comes originally from his tomb (ekal tapšuhti = KAH I 46).

 In operation 2 a number of graves were excavated. There were three sarcophagi – two in square I (no. 24 and no. 36) and one in square K (no. 37). All of them were disturbed or robbed and no. 36 was completely broken. Only a few sherds and bones were found inside. Furthermore the earth grave of a woman (no. 32), which was localized at the street, contained a well preserved bronze fibula. The woman was probably killed during the siege of Assur in 614 B.C.

 The second task of the operation 2 was the investigation of the Middle Assyrian building and the street (2A6) in the squares A and C which were uncovered in 2000. The stratigraphy of the street layers is especially important for the typology of the transitional pottery from the Old to the Middle Assyrian Period. The oldest level of the street dates from the beginning of the 2nd millennium by examples of the so-called “Khabur-ware”. This level is followed by layers with “Nuzi-ware” and finally by layers containing typical Middle Assyrian pottery. A sherd with an Old Assyrian inscription (Fig. 5) and a fragment of an inscribed clay cone of the late Old Assyrian ruler Puzur-Assur III (c. 1540/1500 B.C.) were found between the street deposits.

 At the south side of the street rises a strongly built wall of a large building (room 2A14). Originally it had a door to the street which was closed in later times by a line of mud-bricks. The southern part of this trench is still covered by a massive mud-brick foundation the bottom of which has not been reached yet.

 From the upper levels of the trench came some Late Assyrian and Parthian jars. Small finds of the operation 2 are mostly human and animal terracotta figurines from different periods as well as terracotta wheels. Additionally to the cuneiform tablet from the Late Assyrian building mentioned above, a broken tablet from the Middle Assyrian period was found in the square J directly under the surface.

 In operation 2 the following settlement periods are to be distinguished: I – Parthian (squares H and K), II–V – Late / Neo Assyrian; VI-IX – Middle Assyrian; Street 2A6 – Old Assyrian layers.