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The Oxford Excavations at Hira, 1931

  • D. Talbot Rice

The present age, as far as archaeology is concerned, may well be termed that of excavations, and Mesopotamia is more than any other country the centre of such activity. It is work on the most ancient sites that has come most before the public eye ; but later ruins too have received some attention, both before and since the war. Samarra stands and must long stand as the classical example of an excavation of the later eriod, but the recent work at Ctesiphon is no going investigation by the Baghdad school and the Michigan University expedition and the ancient city of Kish has produced a Sasanian palace. Our work at Hira, some 50 miles to the south of ancient Babylon, now adds another name to this list, and though we made but preliminary soundings they served to show that the town of Hira was definitely an important and interesting place, the further examination of which will be without doubt well repaid. The work which we did was undertaken on behalf of Oxford University and was carried out under the joint direction of Mr Gerald Reitlinger and of the author of this paper. Most sincere thanks are due to Mr Reitlinger, who bore the entire cost of the expedition, and to Professor Langdon of Oxford, who greatly simplified our work by allowing us to become a branch of the Oxford-Field Museum expedition to Kish.

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1 Islamic Pottery, p. 45. He illustrates a Coptic grave-stone on pl. 28.

2 Published in The Illustrated London News, 14 February and 7 March 1931.

3 ANTIQUITY, 1929, 3 44, pl. V.

4 Illustrated London News, 26 March 1931.

5 Crowfoot, and Harden, , ‘ Early Byzantine and later Glass Lamps ’, Journ. of Egyptian Archaeology, 1931. 18, pts. 34, p. 196.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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