Zincirli Höyük is located in southeastern Turkey, in the Islahye Valley on the eastern slope of the Amanus mountains. It is one of the earliest excavations in the Near East, since the German expedition of the Orient-Comité revealed between 1888 and 1902 the imposing remains of the Iron Age capital of the Aramaean kingdom of ancient Sam’al. Since 2006 new excavations by the Universities of Chicago and Tübingen are reassessing the knowledge of the Iron Age settlement, opening for the first time a new perspective on the underlying Bronze Age city.

Excavations in Area 2 are revealing a complex of buildings dated to the Middle Bronze Age, with an extremely rich inventory of ceramics which remained in situ after a violent destruction. The excellent state of preservation of the materials offers a unique chance to investigate this period within a broader regional perspective. The ceramic assemblage is dated to the MB II (1800-1600 B.C) and is composed by fine and painted wares, as well as kitchen, simple and preservation wares. Some remarkable types of painted pottery such as globular flasks were probably related to wine transportation and consumption, showing how Zincirli in the first half of the 2nd millennium B.C. was part of the complex network of exchanges stretching between Mesopotamia, northern Syria, central Anatolia and the eastern Mediterranean coast.

MAT’s generous grant has been extremely significant to cover the expenses of the research team involved in documenting, drawing and studying the large amount of Middle Bronze Age pottery recovered from the excavations. The grant allowed the work of two specialists and an illustrator in Turkey, in order to prepare the documentation which is going to be published soon in a preliminary report on the Bulletin of American Schools of Oriental Research and later in the final publication of Area 2’s excavation.

View of Area 2 and the eastern summit of the mound from the south, 2017. Photograph by Lucas Stephens. (courtesy of the Chicago-Tübingen expedition).
Selection of complete vessels from Building II, from the 2018 season. Photograph by Roberto Ceccacci (courtesy of the Chicago-Tübingen expedition).

For further information, please contact Dr Sebastiano Soldi, Collections Registrar, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze, at sebastiano.soldi@beniculturali.it.

He is also a Research Associate of the DFG-Project “Urban Landscape and State Formation at Iron Age Samal (Zincirli,Turkey)”. See his profile at https://metmuseum.academia.edu/SebastianoSoldi.

The project’s webpage is at https://zincirli.uchicago.edu/.

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