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2000–2001 Annual Report

Tony J. Wilkinson

July 2000 provided an excellent opportunity for Tony J. Wilkinson to experience the northeastern Mediterranean at its hottest point of the year. As part of the Amuq Valley Regional Project directed by Aslihan Yener, a small team from the Oriental Institute undertook sample surveys of the hilly flanks of the Amanus Mountains to determine if Hellenistic and Roman settlement extended up into the wooded foothills. It did. On the return trip, a stopover in London provided the opportunity to present a paper on the latest results of the mapping of the Bronze Age town of Hammat al-Qa (Yemen) at the Seminar for Arabian Studies. This paper, which supplements an article published in Antiquity in 2000 (with Chris Edens and Glynn Barratt), is due out in July 2001. There followed, after August in Chicago, a trip to Syria, first to visit the Homs survey, directed by Graham Philip for Durham University, and then on to Qinnasrin and Hamoukar. The Homs project, being a landscape survey, was of considerable interest to me because I was about to sign a contract to write a book on archaeological landscapes of the Near East. Not only does such a contract concentrate the mind, but it also provides a reminder of just how little one knows. I was therefore eager to learn more about the development of the landscapes of western Syria. My trip continued with an itinerary that followed almost the entire length of the Orontes Valley. I was then able to rendezvous with Don Whitcomb and team in Aleppo, who were en route to Qinnasrin. Following an overnight in Qinnasrin, I undertook ten days of fieldwork at Hamoukar where I worked with two teams. First on survey, where Jason Ur and team were unraveling the mysteries of the Hamoukar landscape, and then with Colleen Coyle and Mark al-Taweel who were engaged in excavating soundings in the mysterious and massive southern extension site at Hamoukar. Following the Fall Quarter and New Year in Chicago, it was back to Yemen via a brief halt in Frankfurt for a lecture and seminar. Fieldwork in Yemen (see separate report) was wrapped up by a lecture on the development of Yemeni landscapes at the American Institute for Yemeni Studies.

During 2000/2001, papers were presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research meeting in Nashville, and the Society for American Archaeology meetings in New Orleans. In addition to various lectures in Chicago, I was able to contribute a joint paper (with graduate student Jesse Casana) at a workshop in Durham, England, on the geoarchaeology of the Orontes Valley. This year I was pleased to see the appearance of a number of papers on various topics that had been trapped in the publications pipeline. Among these was my view of the current state of Mesopotamian Surveys published in the Journal of Archaeological Research (2000), a joint article with my wife (Eleanor Barbanes) on the archaeology of Iron Age Syria, and an article summarizing survey methodology and sampling practice for the new Handbook of Archaeological Sciences. Much of late 2000 and 2001 has been devoted to putting the final flourishes to a report on the archaeology of the Upper Tabqa Dam area in Syria for Oriental Institute Publications, and writing a book, Archaeological Landscapes of the Near East, for the University of Arizona Press. The latter, I hope, will present an integrated view of landscape development from Anatolia to southern Arabia over the last 6,000 years or so.

Revised: June 6, 2007

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