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Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments: Part Two

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments: Part Two
Started June 9, 2014
Part Two- Project Grant

A Survey and Documentation of the condition of Standing Monuments and Historical Architecture

Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments is a project directed by Professor Zainab Bahrani in the Department of Art History and Archaeology that began in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2013. The project was awarded a President’s Global Innovation Fund Planning Grant that allowed a small team to travel to the region in order to begin the fieldwork project, and to meet with colleagues locally. The goal of the fieldwork was to assess standing monuments and heritage buildings, their state of preservation and condition for historical and conservational purposes, and also to produce visual records for study purposes. Professor Bahrani and her team were able to document more than twenty major monuments and heritage sites in Erbil, Dohuk and Suleymaniye. The sites they covered in 2013 included ancient Assyrian rock reliefs and sites, early Christian churches and monasteries, early Islamic architecture, Yezidi temples and shrines, and Ottoman era buildings. The photographic documentation from the first field season is currently being prepared for the Art History Department’s Archmap website:

The Three Year project Grant awarded in 2014 enables the continuation of this fieldwork in the region, including the continuing documentation of sites in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as in Eastern Anatolia in Turkey, and in Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, the Three Year Grant will permit the organization of a conference and workshop at the Columbia Amman Center and the Columbia Istanbul Center in order to meet with colleagues from the region for the planning of further steps towards the preservation of this rich historical landscape. Heritage sites, historical architecture and monuments are in grave danger throughout the region. As they continue to be destroyed as a means of erasing the diverse ethnic and religious communities, the project has both art historical-archaeological scholarly value and humanitarian significance.

© Fluted domes of the Yezidi Sanctuary at Lalesh


© Rashi Aga Seray, Erbil Citadel


© Assyrian rock relief, Dohuk



Edith Porada Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art History and Archaeology


School of the Arts
Art History and Archaeology Department
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