News & AnalysisArchaeology

Kurdistan Offers an Open Window on the Ancient Fertile Crescent

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Science  04 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6179, pp. 18-19
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6179.18

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This week, archaeologists from around the world will gather in Erbil to discuss what they are already learning about the long history of the city—and the promising future for archaeological research in surrounding Iraqi Kurdistan. Even as nearby countries such as Syria and Turkey curtail archaeological efforts, this area within Iraq—once off-limits—has begun welcoming outside scientists eager to probe its past. At the meeting, for example, several groups will describe how landscape surveys and digs are already painting a new picture of the Assyrian empire. Their findings suggest that northern Iraq, once the core of the Assyrian empire, had a dense population and an elaborate infrastructure, likely constructed by conquered populations resettled there.

  • * Andrew Curry is a writer based in Berlin.

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