|Location||Nineveh Province, Iraq|
|Excavation dates||1927, 1931, 1932|
Tepe Gawra (Kurdish for "Great Mound") is an ancient Mesopotamian settlement in the Mosul region of northwest Iraq that was occupied between 5000 and 1500 BC. It contains remains from the Halaf period, the Ubaid period, and the Uruk period (4000–3100 BC). Tepe Gawra contains material relating to the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period c. 5,500–5,000 BC.
History of archaeological research
A brief exploratory dig was performed by Austen Layard before 1850. The site was formally excavated in 1927, 1931, and 1932 for a total of 8 months by archaeologists from a joint expedition of the University of Pennsylvania and the American Schools of Oriental Research, led by Ephraim Avigdor Speiser.
In 2001, Mitchell Rothman reanalyzed the data from previous excavations that did not use precise stratigraphic techniques. He considerably clarified the stratigraphy of the site.
Tepe Gawra and its environment
Tepe Gawra lies near the ancient site of Nineveh, 2 miles (3.2 km) from Khorsabad and 15 miles (24 km) northeast of the modern city of Mosul. The tell or settlement mound at Tepe Gawra is 120 metres (390 ft) in diameter and 22 metres (72 ft) high.
Excavations at Tepe Gawri revealed 16 levels showing that the Tepe Gawra site was occupied from approximately 5000 BC to 1500 BC. They include the earliest known temple to be decorated with pilasters and recesses. The Gawra Period (3500–2900 BC) is named for the site.
Earliest use of gold
According to Daniel Potts, the earliest evidence for gold or electrum use in the Near East comes from Ur and Tepe Gawra; a few small artifacts, such as wire and beads, have been found at these sites. At Tepe Gawra, the use of gold and electrum continued into the Early Dynastic period, starting about 2900 BC.
Several objects from levels 12 to 8 (mid-fourth to early-third millennium BC) at Tepe Gawra were made of arsenical copper, which is quite early for Mesopotamia. Similar objects are also found in Fara (Shuruppak), also dating from Jamdat Nasr period.
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- E. A. Speiser, The Bearing of the Excavations at Tell Billa and at Tepe Gawra upon the Ethnic Problems of Ancient Mesopotamia, American Journal of Archaeology, vol. XXXVI, pp. 29–35, 1932
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