Exciting Neolithic finds in the Fertile Crescent

The CZAP team on location

The CZAP team on location

Staff and students from the University of Reading, as part of the Central Zagros Archaeological Project (CZAP), have returned from a successful six-week field season at Bestansur, in the Kurdish Region of Iraq.  The site lies close to a perennial spring and comprises extensive Early Neolithic occupation and later Neo-Assyrian and Sasanian levels, which form much of the 7.5m high central mound.

Excavations in 2012 established that Early Neolithic deposits were preserved across a 100-by-50 metre area, including pisé walls, areas of food preparation, flint-knapping, and a double-burial of a man and woman buried head-to-toe.

The 15m section cut into the north of the mound.

The 15m section cut into the north of the mound.

This season, CZAP excavated five trenches, including cutting a 15-metre section into the north of the mound. This work has yielded the first glimpses into the core of the Neolithic settlement with fine plaster surfaces, layers of dung and ochre, comparable with Neolithic sites across the region, such as Çatalhöyük.

Extensive post-excavation analysis is now under way examining issues of plant and animal domestication, resource usage and cultural networks across the Fertile Crescent.

Further details can be found on:

Read about the project leaders

Read a report from the Archaeology 3D project on their collaboration with CZAP 

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