The later prehistory of the Shahrizor plain, Kurdistan region of Iraq: Further investigations at Gurga Chiya and Tepe Marani

Robert Carter*, David Wengrow, Saber Ahmed Saber, Sami Jamil Hamarashi, Mary Shepperson, Kirk Roberts, Michael P. Lewis, Anke Marsh, Lara Gonzalez Carretero, Hanna Sosnowska, Alexander D'Amico, Wiktoria Sagan, Kris Lockyear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Shahrizor Prehistory Project has targeted prehistoric levels of the Late Ubaid and Late Chalcolithic 4 (LC4; Late Middle Uruk) periods at Gurga Chiya (Shahrizor, Kurdistan region of northern Iraq), along with the Halaf period at the adjacent site of Tepe Marani. Excavations at the latter have produced new dietary and environmental data for the sixth millennium B.C. in the region, while at Gurga Chiya part of a burned Late Ubaid tripartite house was excavated. This has yielded a promising archaeobotanical assemblage and established a benchmark ceramic assemblage for the Shahrizor Plain, which is closely comparable to material known from Tell Madhhur in the Hamrin valley. The related series of radiocarbon dates gives significant new insights into the divergent timing of the Late Ubaid and early LC in northern and southern Mesopotamia. In the following occupation horizon, a ceramic assemblage closely aligned to the southern Middle Uruk indicates convergence of material culture with central and southern Iraq as early as the LC4 period. Combined with data for the appearance of Early Uruk elements at sites in the adjacent Qara Dagh region, this hints at long-term co-development of material culture during the fourth millennium B.C. in southeastern Iraqi Kurdistan and central and southern Iraq, potentially questioning the model of expansion or colonialism from the south.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-71
Number of pages31
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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Copyright © 2020 The British Institute for the Study of Iraq.

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