Research Programs: Collaborative Research

Period of Performance

7/1/2004 - 6/30/2006

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$100,000.00 (approved)
$100,000.00 (awarded)

Investigating a Late Assyrian Urban Landscape at Ziyaret Tepe, Turkey

FAIN: RZ-50288-04

University of Akron, Main Campus (Akron, OH 44325-0001)
Timothy Matney (Project Director: November 2003 to September 2006)

Excavation and analysis of the site of ancient Tushhan on the Upper Tigris in southeast Turkey, an ideal laboratory for studying the process of collapse of the Late Assyrian Empire.

This proposal seeks funding for two years of archaeological research at Ziyaret Tepe (ancient Tushhan) in the Diyarbakir province of southeastern Turkey. Funds requested from NEH will cover, in part, an excavation season in the summer of 2004, subsequent specialist analyses, and a study season in Turkey in 2005. Ziyaret Tepe was a provincial capital at the edge of the Assyrian empire between the early 9th and late 7th centuries BC. In 2002 and 2003, a small archive of clay cuneiform texts was uncovered in an administrative complex at Ziyaret Tepe. These tablets, exceptionally rare in Turkey, provide us with an important opportunity to utilize both in situ Assyrian historical texts and detailed archaeological records to study such topics as the nature of urbanization, socio-economic variability, the relationship between the city's Assyrian elites and commoners, settlement planning and the site's collapse. As detailed within the proposal we are particularly interested in terms of the proposed NEH project in studying how Assyrian identity in this frontier setting was defined, maintained, and changed within the household and how the neighborhood as a supra-household social and spatial unit functioned to create group identity and to facilitate interactions among social groups. By focusing on these broader issues of identity and urbanization, it is our contention that this project will generate interest widely across the humanities, as well as providing a comparative model for archaeologists working in other regions and time periods.