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Department of Archaeology


Mr Stefan Smith, BA (hons) (Dunelm.), MA (Dunelm.)

(email at

Research Topic

Settlement patterns in the marginal landscape of north-eastern Syria.


One of the most interesting aspects of ancient settlement patterns in northern Mesopotamia is the expansion into the marginal dry steppe areas of modern-day north-eastern Syria in the early 3rd millennium BC. These regions are not located close to river valleys, and therefore do not receive adequate rainfall for crops while being only marginal for pasture. My research is examining the question of settlement development and sustainability in these regions by focusing on the area between the Balikh and the Khabur rivers, including the regions of Tell Chuera and the Jebel Abd al-Aziz - an area that has largely been neglected when it comes to such comparative landscape studies.

My research uses the following methods:
- an intensive review and some additional investigation of the field survey around Tell Chuera to provide a ground control for the entire area in question
- reviews of previous surveys in the region, such as the Jebel Abd al Aziz survey
- mapping of the archaeological landscape using CORONA imagery and SRTM data
Together, these are being employed to provide a holistic examination of the regional archaeology and patterns of settlement during the critical periods of the 4th to early 2nd millennium BC.

Archaeology Staff June 2014