Operation 4


Operation 4 is located approximately 25 m to the east of the temple of Nabu and 30 m to the south of the temple of Sin and Shamash, next to the old trial trench 7I of W. Andrae. At this place a deep sounding was opened by R. Dittmann (Free University of Berlin) in 1988-89 (Dittmann, MDOG 122, 1990). His old trench was extended to the west where the latest levels (Parthian and Late Assyrian remains) were already excavated by W. Andrae. The first German expedition found here a large official building from the Middle Assyrian period (Miglus, WVDOG 93, 1996, 147-151).

 The excavation was carried out in two separate parts of the area: in the northern part A (9 x 6 m) and the southern part B (14 x 7,5 m). As the first step of our work we removed the old fill coming from the old excavations and the reconstruction of the temple of Ishtar. Mixed pottery and fragments of terracotta figurines and reliefs from different periods were found in these deposits. The following excavation uncovered remains which are preliminary designated as phases I-V. It is difficult now to divide them into the building or settlement levels respectively. Phase I contains Parthian remains excavated by Andrae, phase II is Neo and Middle Assyrian and was excavated by Dittmann (=phase II according to Dittmann's results), phase III is Middle Assyrian (= Dittmann's phase III, younger), phase IV is Old Assyrian (= Dittmann's phase III, older), layers from the late 3rd millennium belong to phase V.

 The upper level in phase II represent three walls without any connection. They seem to be Neo Assyrian. In the eastern part of area A one layer of mud-bricks spread over a 0.5 m thick Middle Assyrian layer of sherds. In this pottery layer fragments of clay cones as well as terracotta “hand-consoles” were also found. One of the pottery pieces bears an inscription of Tukulti-Ninurta I (1233-1197). Other evidence for the dating of this phase is the cuneiform tablets from the western part of the area A.

 In B (west) appears a foundation of mud-bricks that once was dug by W. Andrae. It cuts into a pavement of backed bricks in the south, which seems to be Neo Assyrian (a possibly dating of a glazed sherd from the substructure of the floor). It is difficult to fix its date, because of secondary deposits from the old excavations.

 The next phase (III) shows parts of stone foundations which could be assigned to one building. In the north-eastern area they were covered by the sherd-layer mentioned above. In the north-west, in area A, c. 200 unbacked tablet fragments were found in earth and mud accumulation. Neither walls nor floors were preserved, but they belong to the archives found in the building of palace administration by the first German expedition (Miglus 1996, 147-151; Pedersén 1985 no. M7). The tablets date from the time from Adad-narari I (1307-1275) till Tukulti-Ninurta I (1244-1208) and from the early 12th century B. C.

 An Old Assyrian building could be expected in area B. There are thick mud-brick walls of the phase IV which seem to belong to a row of rooms. To the west of this building runs a street with a drainage system. The street surfaces show assemblages of fine “Nuzi-ware” as well as standard Middle Assyrian ware. This is the evidence that the street was used for a long period.

 In the eastern part of area B the deep sounding of R. Dittmann was located. After the removal of the recent filling a new building level (phase V) was reached. It is represented by a mud-brick wall of probably 2.5 m thickness. The pottery from this level dates from the late 3rd millennium B.C.