Unit Book J5

J5 Synthetic View / Stratigraphy

Depositional data for Unit J5

James L. Walker – September 2011

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In previous sections we have described in detail the relationship among the features and items we have excavated (emplacement). Now we will use these data to address how they got to be there (deposition). In this section we will be describing activities in the order they took place, from earlies to latest.

Noteworthy at the beginning of this discussion is the nature of activities at this part of the site. We know from other units nearby that the BA temple mound was built to within a few meters of its present height by the Late Chalcolithic period. Presently we have not excavated to that level, although we should be approaching it. We have not exposed horizontally enough of the Early Dynastic period architecture to determine what activities took place there.

However, we do know from ceramics analysis that there was a long hiatus of activity at this particular location between the Early Dynastic and Mittani periods. Early in the Mittani period, secular functions took place. Later in the Mittani period the westward expansion resulting in the construction of a monumental staircase established the area as a sacred space.

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There were several periods of intensive building activity. The earliest was a line of stones, possibly a wall top, which cannot be accurately dated. Second, a revetment wall and an accompanying stone escarpment were built. Next, the wall system was modified and an additional baqaya escarpment was added. After a hiatus of almost two millenia, building resumed early in the Mittani period. A stairway and dam were noteworthy components.

Midway into the Mittani period, major building occurred as the monumental entrance to the BA temple mound was shifted from the east to the northwest corner of the exposed part of the revetment wall. Components include a stairway plaza and western border.

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Unintended deposits of soil, in the form of layers, lenses, and accumulations occurred during several periods. The first was after the revetment walls were constructed until activity shifted away during the latter part of EDIII. It began again in the Mittani period and steadily built up until even the monumental architecture was covered. Post-abandonment, wind and rain, acting on additional layers of loess, built the mound to its present form.

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There were few examples of intentional discard. There was a small pit and a child burial, during scattered occupation after Mittani abandonment.

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Most disaggregation came as the result of water erosion, apparently a problem from the EDIII period forward. Numerous water channels and gullies cut not only accumulations, but also floors. Several structures (dam, weir, wide stone escarpment) were built to ameliorate these effects, but water from storms constantly flowed along the outside of the revetment walls causing damage. Water also carried large stones from deteriorating structures on the temple mound downhill and deposited them randomly throughout the unit.

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