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21st of November 2017

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Archaeologists Unearth Sasanian-Period Loom in Iraq | Archaeology | Sci-News.com

A team of Near Eastern archaeology students led by Goethe University Professor Dirk Wicke has uncovered the burnt remains of a Sasanian loom, about 1,500 years old, at the archaeological site of Gird-i Qalrakh in the province of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq.

Aerial view of the site of Gird-i Qalrakh from the south showing the excavation areas on the summit and south-western slope as well as the small test pit on the south-eastern slope. Image credit: Philipp Serba.

Aerial view of the site of Gird-i Qalrakh from the south showing the excavation areas on the summit and south-western slope as well as the small test pit on the south-eastern slope. Image credit: Philipp Serba.

“The objective of the excavations was to provide as complete a sequence as possible for the region’s ceramic history,” Professor Wicke and colleagues said.

“Understanding the progression in ceramics has long been a goal of research undertaken on the Shahrizor plain, a border plain of Mesopotamia with links to the ancient cultural regions of both Southern Iraq and Western Iran.”

The site of Gird-i Qalrakh is ideal for establishing the progression of ceramics, according to the team.

“It is a small site but it features a relatively tall hill in which we have found a complete sequence of ceramic shards,” Professor Wicke said.

“It seems likely that the hill was continuously inhabited from the early 3rd millennium BC through to the Islamic period.”

Excavated corner of room with the remains of the Sasanian loom between the wall (top) and a bench of six mudbricks. The round loom weights made from clay are particularly visible, as are slabs of mud once forming some kind of shelving. Image credit: Lanah Haddad.

Excavated corner of room with the remains of the Sasanian loom between the wall (top) and a bench of six mudbricks. The round loom weights made from clay are particularly visible, as are slabs of mud once forming some kind of shelving. Image credit: Lanah Haddad.

However, the team had not expected to find a Sasanian loom (4th-6th century CE), whose burnt remnants, and clay loom weights in particular, were found at the site.

“In addition to the charred remains, there were numerous seals, probably from rolls of fabric, which indicate that large-scale textile production took place at the site,” the archaeologists said.

“From the Neo-Assyrian period (9th-7th century BC), by contrast, a solid, stone-built, terraced wall was discovered, which points to major construction work having taken place there.”

“It is possible that the ancient settlement was refortified and continued to be used in the early 1st millennium BC.”

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