1996-97 ANNUAL REPORT
At the end of August, Tony J. Wilkinson visited the Balikh Valley, Syria, where NELC graduate student Jerry Lyons was engaged in the second season of his field work concerning the development of the Middle Assyrian frontier in Syria. After a few days in Syria, it was necessary to cross the border into Turkey, in order to continue the geoarchaeological surveys in the Amuq (see 96-97 Amuq report). After closing up camp in mid-October at the end of the Amuq field season, it was necessary to travel overland to Damascus, and from there by plane to Sanªa, Yemen to join McGuire Gibson as co-director of the Dhamar Project, which continued until Thanksgiving (see 96-97 Dhamar report). Although no more fieldwork was conducted in 1996/97, follow-up laboratory work for the Amuq Project took place in late March, in the laboratories at Gröningen University, where the lake cores are housed.
During 1996/97, public lectures were delivered in Sanªa, Yemen (on landscape archaeology in Yemen), Bristol University, UK (landscape archaeology in the Ancient Near East), the Institute of Archaeology, London (interactions between humans and the environment in greater Mesopotamia), Cambridge, UK (the estimation of long-term population trends in the Near East), and Brown University World Hunger Program (moisture management and control in ancient Upper Mesopotamia). At the International Quaternary Association meetings in Ankara, Turkey, a paper was presented on the development of the Lake of Antioch and Orontes Valley sedimentation. In late May 1997, the Oriental Institute jointly sponsored a conference, with NASA and the GIS-Remote-Sensing Laboratories at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. The conference, which was devoted to remote sensing applications in Archaeology, included a number of Near Eastern contributions, including the use of declassified "spy" images in northern Syria (A. Mathys), mapping the Mesopotamian alluvial plain (Kris Verhoeven), interpreting prehistoric communities in southern Oman (J. Zarins), remote sensing of archaeological features in northern and southern Mesopotamia (B. Richason and T. J. Wilkinson), and subsoil modeling of tells in Jordan (Bradley Matson). We are particularly grateful to Oriental Institute member Bud Haas and the Oriental Institute, who provided contributions that enabled three NELC students to attend the conference.
Papers published or in press include: "Early Bronze Age Urbanization, Agricultural Production and Collapse: The Situation in Upper Mesopotamia" in Third Millennium BC Climate Change and Old World Collapse, edited by George Kukla et al. for NATO Monographs in Environmental Change (1996); "The Archaeology of the Yemen High Plains: A Preliminary Chronology" in Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 8 (1997), with M. Gibson and C. Edens; and "The Archaeological Landscape of the Upper Balikh Valley, Syria" in Journal of Field Archaeology 24 (1997). In addition, much effort is being devoted to the completion of a monograph on The Archaeology of Upper Lake Tabqa and Tell Sweyhat Region, Syria (to be submitted for publication to the Oriental Institute).
Revised: July 30, 2007