Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Carchemish Excavations - Further Details

The site of Carchemish is located on the Euphrates River, straddling the Turkey-Syria border. The first excavations in 1878-1881 were conducted by the British consul in Aleppo, Patrick Henderson. The main excavations at the site, however, took place in 1911-1914 and 1920. The first season was directed by D. G. Hogarth and R. Campbell Thompson. Subsequent seasons were directed by Sir C. Leonard Woolley with the assistance of T. E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) and, in the final year, with the assistance of P. L. O. Guy. The work was interrupted both by World War I (1914-1918) and by the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923). After the Turkish War of Independence, the modern borders were established, and it became impossible to excavate Carchemish any further.


Carchemish, orthostat in the British Museum with relief of the Storm-god.

Now, 91 years later, work is underway to resume excavations at the ancient site. We remarked on this before, but an online news article now gives additional details. According to a piece in Hurriyet Daily News, the renewed excavations will be conducted by Italian and Japanese archaeologists and are set to begin sometime this year. In preparation for excavations, a contractor had to clear 1,200 landmines from the site. During the mine-clearing, some coins and other objects were retrieved from the site and turned over to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

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