J1 loose materials

Typology of the built environment in unit J1

Loose materials

September 2009 - Lorenzo Crescioli



^acc1 Series of semi natural Mittani accumulations against the lower part of ED III revetment wall (^wall1). Because of the shift of urban focus from east to west in Mittani period, with the building of the new J5 staircase leading to the temple terrace, the plaza was no longer effectively in use and started to filled up. v213
^acc2 Series of semi natural Mittani accumulations against the upper part of the ED III revetment wall (^wall1). The accumulations were growing and covering the face of ^wall1 and the boundary between plaza and temple terrace was getting less marked. v198
^acc3 Series of natural Mittani accumulations covering the upper part of ^wall1, when the site was almost abandoned and the ED III revetment wall no more visible. v226
^acc4 Natural brown accumulations, with some bones and very few sherds, found in between two pebble and sherd pavement (^pav2 and ^pav1). v213
^ash1 Accumulation of soft ash, mixed with mud brick fragments, found in between the two escarpments and covering the eroded surface of ^esc1 v342
^ash2 Thin ashy accumulation found on top of ^str1 and probably part of the construction material of the ^esc1 v427

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     Different kinds of deposits have been uncovered in J1. They are almost all coming from natural depositional processes.


     ^ash1 for example seems showing a later accumulation covering the eroded surface of the ^esc1, more than packing material for the ^esc2. Then it was covered by the fills for the construction of ^esc2.
     ^ash2 instead is part of the filling of ^esc1 and was right on top of ^wall2, used as filling dump material, like often happens (in J1 we can also mention f303 and f320).


     The typical accumulations found in J1 are natural accumulations, and this of course is due to the kind of context we are excavating. J1 is the excavation located in the northern edge of the Plaza, the big open space extending to the south of the terrace, remarking its monumental aspect. The greatest amount of J1 accumulations date to Mittani period when the Plaza was probably blocked to the south from some buildings and Urkesh was by then starting to lose for ever its importance. The plaza was kept clean for about 1300 years, from Ninevite 5 to Mittani period, when it started to fill up. The lower accumulations were found between two levels of pavements (^pav2 and ^pav1). They are very clean with very few bones and sherds in it. They seem due to a waterborne process. The lower accumulations against the revetment wall ^acc1 are semi-natural and created by material washed from the surrounding areas. The accumulations covering the upper part of the revetment wall, ^acc2, are also semi-natural but they still show the human presence in form of people walking in this open area and not in any other kind of activity as pit, burials or tannurs. The latest accumulations ^acc3 are extremely natural, with a much smaller amount of sherds and other materials. These last accumulations are linked with the abandonment of the site. All these accumulations of course are waterborne, but in the forming process very important was also the wind, as shown by this impressive video clip recorded at Tell Mozan during 2008 summer.


      Topsoil is a kind of accumulation born in modern time because of natural and antropic action. It doesn't give any important information for the excavation even if sometime interesting objects washed from other areas could be found. Topsoil is always considered as "surface levels".

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