Unit Book A6

A6 Synthetic View / Introduction

Chronicle of Unit A6

Amer Ahmad – May 2023

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A6 was an active excavation for three years at the beginning of the ‘90, and the work on documentation was resumed only several years later in the program of digitalizing old books, also thanks to the Balzan Prize.

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Excavations in Zone A began in 1990. This operation that was labeled AS was a stepped trench chosen for just the opposite reasons.

The area in question corresponds to the highest rise on the High Mound, where the 1984 ceramic survey resulted in the largest concentration of later material.

It was not clear from the beginning that the structures uncovered at the base of the trench were part of a Palace.

The aim was to obtain a stratigraphic sequence from the highest point on the mound, but one that would not cut through the inner city wall, and to obtain as extensive a lateral exposure as possible near the base of the High Mound, where we might expect to find substantial strata of the more ancient horizons in the occupational history of the ancient city.

After a study season in 1991, it was decided to expand the excavations in this lowermost portion of the step trench, and from that point on lateral exposure of the building (which turned out to be the Palace) became the main goal. The expansion of the excavations followed our growing understanding of both the Palace and the settlements above it, so the excavations expanded to the east where the A6 was one of the units that were opened in the organization.

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The 1992 season

The excavations began to remove the topsoil from k217,k218,k219 to reach the accumulation layers underneath and to expose any walls if they exist, as also k217 has been cut into 2 steps since it is on EW downward slope of the tell, in order to go the lower levels and to determine with certainty the face of the wall f78. As for the k167, the excavation continued to understand, if the rabbeted face of the brick is one side of a doorway, and if there is a room N or it is the outer wall.

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The 1996 season

All the accumulations were removed in order to make out the outlines of what was thought to be a threshold in the doorway leading from this room (k25) to the room to its East (k22).
     The excavation in the lower accumulation of the building led to yielding a good deal of information in the form of seal impressions. Also, the accumulation by strata from doorway connecting room k26 to the Al area to the west has been removed. It was noticed in A6 itself, the floors step up from the south (k26) to the north. The doorway connecting k25 and k26 had a layer of bricks in the threshold.

Within k22, the first floor of the AK building slopes from N to S, going up toward the vault. This floor had gypsum surface. This floor and part of the accumulation above it were only partly removed, in the southern half of the room. The rest was left to await the same levels in k22 to the east. In the E of k25, what began as an apparent threshold connecting k25 and k22 in the large doorway appeared to be a brick construction 3 layers deep that extended over 0.5 meters eastward.

What was excavated in the A6 from later periods was immediate to the E of k25 and k26, the earlier levels only evidenced the usage of non-enclosed areas during the limited occupation. There were various ash pits, a few burials, no identifiable construction, and only a limited number of large artifacts.

An earlier stage of occupation that lay below these levels evidenced the reuse of the AK building beneath by constructing brick walls above the levels of the earlier walls. It was puzzled over this in k217, (f44 over wall f78) because the construction, if walls, seemed to be of very poor quality.

However, on top of the AK building wall south of k22, it was clear that a later brick wall had been built. The accumulation contained by these walls was extremely clean. Again, there were no large artifacts. Several seal impressions and figurine fragments were obtained.

The excavation in k22 proceeded to the level where excavation. A tremendous quantity of earth had been removed with sensitivity for stratigraphy and we had obtained evidence from this large mass, even in the form of a few seal impressions. The mid-floor level of the AK building also preserved minimal evidence concerning the kind of use the area had received. There were some indications of tannur, perhaps even of metalworking, but the artifactual evidence was limited and there was no doorway connecting k22 to the room to its South.

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The 1997 season

The excavations ended last year in the accumulation above the floor, and the expectation is that we will find a number of sealings near the floor surface, to mirror the finds in room B1. Excavation in k30 should help to articulate the extent of building AK to the E. The orientation for the new squares is now parallel with the walls of AK rather than continuing with the AS orientation (the step trench), which was slightly oblique to the walls of AK.

k30 was cleared of surface deposits and excavation began with the removal of the sod layer (ca. 5cm from the surface). In k22, excavation began with the removal of accumulation f215 on the S. There were two major goals to focus on for the season MZ10:

  1. First, the excavation of the low-floor deposits in sector D. This was begun during MZ9. At the end of that season, the floor was left cut at two levels. Accumulation f215 existed along the N and S borders of the room and it was removed in a rectangular strip EW along the middle exposing a lower layer, f220. It was necessary to begin by removing the rest of f215 and then excavating f220, as part of the effort to recover the floor deposits.
  2. Second, the NE corner of the sector has an unexcavated area, less than 4m x 4m. The main goal this season is to excavate this at least to the level of the walls of the building AK. This unexcavated locus should preserve the kind of stratigraphy that was encountered in f217 during MZ7 and also preserve the secondary wall (f44) that was found built over wall f78 of the AK building.

In k31 the goal was to go down in the area adjoining the expected meeting place of walls f200 and f210 and was able to trace the W face of f210/f418 continuing Southward, and the N face of f200 continuing Eastward where the walls meet to form the SE corner of room D1, kitchen, within locus k31. At the floor level of room D2, which have been excavating as locus k22 has come to the original floor of the AK building in this room.

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The latest revision and the interpretative portion

After several years of ending the excavations in Unit A6, and thanks to Balzan Prise we started working on the digital documentation of this unit. This work is considered the outcome of the excavations effort for several years.

The work began first on the right-hand side, which included fixing and revision mistakes, therefore, facilitating the process of accomplishing the left-hand side.

As a second step, we are currently working on the left-hand side, which includes the interpretive aspects of the unit, we work on the chronicle and stratigraphic aspects of the unit such as excavations and drawing its sketches in addition to dealing with the typological aspects, thus creating a complete digital book for many interested people and researchers.

As a part of my Ph.D. Dissertation, working on the digital documentation of unit A6 is considered the main goal for me as it is one of the most important hubs in my dissertation, where working on the accurate details of the unit, as what I am currently doing is a very important as an approach to high-value research output.

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This version

The version published here is up to date as of June 2023. Following updates will be included in future editions. The earlier version will be archived and published in the Ephemeris portion of the Urkesh website.

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