Operation 5


A new trench – Operation 5 – was opened on the western part of the modern cemetery opposite to the ziqqurrat-tower. It consists of five square areas 10 by 10 m (A-E) extending from the north to the south between the new Iraqi excavation in the east and the old trial sounding made by W. Andrae in the west.

Soundings A-D were excavated between 1 m and 1.8 m deep. In the upper level (I) many graves from the 19th and the first half of the 20th century were found. The grave pits were drawn on the plans, but the human remains were carefully removed and buried in cotton bags in other places which were already excavated. Between the grave pits in the square A few traces of the medieval Islamic settlement (level II) were identified. There were fragments of pottery and a part of a wall badly damaged by the graves.

The Parthian remains represent two or three building levels (III-V) with private houses. In both levels the foundations of the houses were built of stones, backed bricks and sherds, some of them covered with a gypsum mortar. The typical construction shows two layers of bigger stones on both sides and pebbles, pottery and fragments of stones and bricks in the core. The upper parts of the walls constructed of mud brick were destroyed by the Islamic graves. In this destruction layer mixed pottery from the Parthian and Late Assyrian period was found. A big oven in square B seems to belong to the third Parthian level or maybe already to the highest Late Assyrian level but the pavement corresponding with this oven was not reached.

 The Parthian foundations were found 1-1.7 m deep but on the northern slope of the hill they were much higher. They seem to belong to four buildings. For now it is impossible to define their extensions outside of the excavations area or to reconstruct their plans. Anyway, there are about 20 rooms which are usually small and their width is between 2.5 and 4 m.

 A number of Parthian pottery covered most of the excavated floor area in room (5A1) of the house in the northern square A. In the southern room (5A2) lay an altar of limestone. Similar altars were already excavated in Ashur before (Andrae/Lenzen, WVDOG 57, 1933 Pl. 36). Between the Parthian walls were found some coins of bronze, mostly roman “SC coins” (Heidemann in: Miglus, WVDOG 93, 1996, 355 f.).