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TELL KHAIBER: AN ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE OF THE SEALAND PERIOD 1

  • Stuart Campbell, Jane Moon, Robert Killick, Daniel Calderbank, Eleanor Robson, Mary Shepperson and Fay Slater...
Abstract

Excavations at Tell Khaiber in southern Iraq by the Ur Region Archaeological Project have revealed a substantial building (hereafter the Public Building) dating to the mid-second millennium b.c. The results are significant for the light they shed on Babylonian provincial administration, particularly of food production, for revealing a previously unknown type of fortified monumental building, and for producing a dated archive, in context, of the little-understood Sealand Dynasty. The project also represents a return of British field archaeology to long-neglected Babylonia, in collaboration with Iraq's State Board for Antiquities and Heritage. Comments on the historical background and physical location of Tell Khaiber are followed by discussion of the form and function of the Public Building. Preliminary analysis of the associated archive provides insights into the social milieu of the time. Aspects of the material culture, including pottery, are also discussed.

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Corresponding author
Stuart Campbell, The University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL, stuart.campbell@manchester.ac.uk
Jane Moon & Robert Killick, Ur Region Archaeology Project, Upper House, Stoke Saint Milborough, Ludlow, SY8 2EJ, jm@urarchaeology.org rk@urarchaeology.org
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1

We gratefully acknowledge the support, above all, of Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza at The Augustus Foundation, also of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, and the Gerald Averay Wainwright Fund for Near Eastern Archaeology.

Our thanks also to the following companies and institutions who have generously contributed to our work at Tell Khaiber, through donations and/or help-in-kind: the British Council, Iraq; Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Embassy, Iraq; BSOC; DigitalGlobe Foundation; Gulfsands Petroleum Ltd; IKB Travel; Kirintec Ltd, Niton UK; SKA International Group; and Unity Resources Group. And similarly to the following individuals: Renate de Kleine Stephenson, Spindrift Al-Suwaidi, and Sue and Bill Rees.

We are also grateful to colleagues and staff at the State Board for Antiquities and Heritage, Iraq, for their invaluable assistance, especially Mr Qais Hussein Rashid, Dr Ahmad Kamil, Dr Haider al-Mamori, Dr Abdulamir Hamdani and Mr Ali Kadhim; to John MacGinnis for his preliminary work on the tablets from the 2014 season; to Andrew George and Niek Veldhuis for their expert advice on particular readings; and to Michael Roaf for commenting on a draft of this article. As usual, any remaining errors can be ascribed to the authors.

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