Excavation 2000

(Peter A. Miglus)

In Spring 2000 a new German excavation took place at Ashur. It was a continuation of the project started 1989-90 by Prof. Dr. Barthel Hrouda (University of Munich) which had to be stopped because of the war. The present excavation was a joint project of the Institute for Oriental Archaeology and Art at the University of Halle, the Bavarian Academy of Science and the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft) on the one hand and the Department of Antiquities and Heritage in Iraq on the other hand. It was supported by the foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The German Archaeological Institute kindly made its house in Baghdad available for the expedition.

The excavation team comprised: Peter A. Miglus (University of Halle) as a director, Jürgen Bär (University of Heidelberg), Arnuf Hausleiter (Free University of Berlin) and Franciszek M. Stepniowski (University of Warsaw). The epigraphist was Stefan M. Maul (University of Heidelberg). In Iraq the expedition was joined by Zuhair Rajab Abdallah (University of Baghdad), Hussein Ali Hanze (Iraqi Department of Antiquities) und Hekmet Bashir Aswad (Museum at Mosul) who was the representative of the Department of Antiquities and Heritage. Four Sherqatis supervised about forty workers at the site.

The expedition departed on the 25th of March from Berlin to Amman and continued on the next day to Baghdad. It stayed in Baghdad for four days and reached Ashur on the 31st of March. The digging went until the 5th of Mai. On 9 Mai we came back to Germany via Jordan.

The long-term planning of Prof. Hrouda for the former excavation consisted of making a sounding in the oldest levels of the site as well as investigating the changes of the urban structure in different periods of occupation. We pursued this strategy and resumed the excavation in the trenches started 1990, i. e. Operation 1 (‘Ostabschnitt’) and Operation 2 (‘Westabschnitt’) in the western area of Ashur. We found both trenches badly damaged with many traces of illicit digging.

It was very difficult to connect our operations with the new grid system which had been laid out in 1989. Most of the fixed grid points and bench marks had been removed.

After cleaning the disturbed remains and controlling measurements of the better preserved walls and pavements exposed in prior excavation we continued to dig deeper and extended the trenches for a better understanding of the already excavated building structures.