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Session of 16 December 2016

Lectur of Miss Maria Grazia Masetti-Rouault, under the patronage of M. Christian ROBIN : « Recherches à Qasr Shemamok-Kilizu : premiers résultats »

Abstract : The French Archaeological Mission at Qasr Shemamok - Kilizu: First Research Results Maria Grazia Masetti-Rouault, Director of the French Archaeological Mission at Qasr Shemamok (Kurdistan, Iraq) The site of Qasr Shemamok, today in the region of Iraqi Kurdistan, was identified as the city of Kakzu/Kilizu early in the archaeological exploration of Mesopotamia. The mound, covering almost 70 hectares, situated at the heart of the “Land of Assur”, offered the perfect possibility to study a regional capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Notwithstanding the importance with which the site was regarded, the excavations carried out by 19th century archaeologists did not last more than a few months: in the acropolis, exposing Assyrian antiquities they were looking for was too difficult. In 2010, thanks to the support of Kurdish authorities, a French mission directed by O. Rouault started a new research project at the site, in order to study the evolution of its culture and of its natural landscape. An international team is currently carrying out a program of excavations, surveys, epigraphic and historical research.
The main scope of this program is the exploration of an Assyrian town, in the context of an imperial system, working with modern methods and technologies, and trying to answer a new set of scientific questions. In the first campaigns we have discovered a part of a city wall built by King Sennacherib (7th century BC) around the citadel, as well as the remains of a palace founded by Adad-nirari I (13th century BC), demonstrating the antiquity of the Assyrian presence in this region. Our research perspective also seeks to reconstruct the history of the city and of its region prior to and following the demise of that empire. We are trying to better our understanding of the conditions and ways by which this Northern Mesopotamian urban settlement, marked by the presence of Mitannian culture, was integrated into the Assyrian Empire. An occupation of this period has been identified recently in the acropolis. Qasr Shemamok’s post-Assyrian levels offer a new opportunity to study how the local culture reorganized its culture and economy, in order to adapt to the domination of other powers - the Neo-Babylonian, Persian and Hellenistic empires, which were themselves replaced later by Parthian and Sassanian occupation.

Keywords : Archaeology Mesopotamia Empire Assyria Cuneiform

Lectur of Miss Lina Bolzoni, Foreign correspondent of the Academy: « Plaisirs et périls de la lecture à la Renaissance ».


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