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Tell Baqrta is located 28 km south of Erbil, near the village Minara, on the road to Makhmour. It is one of the largest archaeological sites of the Erbil region. It measures ca. 220 m in diameter and 20 m in height

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This so far unknown site was brought to our attention by Dr. Narmen Ali Muhamad Amen, Professor of Archaeology at the Salahaddin University‐Hawler. The University of Athens received a permit to excavate this Tell, which will be conducted after the conclusion of the Tell Nader Project. Dr. K. Kopanias visited the site in October 2010, accompanied by Mr. Nader Babakr Muhammad (General Directorate of Antiquities) and Mr. Saber Hasan Hussein (Directorate of Antiquities of Erbil), and also in April 2011, accompanied by Mr. Goran Mohammed (Directorate of Antiquities of Erbil), Dr. Athanasios Sideris (Foundation of the Hellenic World) and Dr. Claudia Beuger (University of Halle).This site lies on the road that connected Arbela with middle Mesopotamia and controls an important pass on the hill chain south of Erbil. On the surface lie thousands of pottery sherds and hundreds of lithics, which indicate that the site was in use from the Chalcolithic down to the Parthian and Islamic period, but not during later periods.Tell Baqrta was probably walled during some periods of its long history, and had two main access points, which are still visible.

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Tell Baqrta could possibly be identified with the town Baqar/Baqarru of the Neo-Assyrian period and the town Qabra of the Old Babylonian period, as suggested by Dr. John MacGinnis. More details here. 

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Detail from the Casco Bay Map of Assyia. Courtesy of Jason Ur, Harvard University.

 

During our visit an unexpected find was made by Dr. Athanasios Sideris: an Attic Late Classical sherd, probably from the first half of the 4th century B.C. Although this find could have arrived to the site through trade, it could also be connected with the march of Xenophon's Ten Thousand. In 401 B.C., on their way back from Cunaxa (ca. 70 km north of Babylon), they crossed the Great Zab river just a few kilometers west of Tell Baqrta. Hopefully, the future excavation is going to produce more finds that will shed some light on this question.

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Here you can download the full report of season 2011.

 



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