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Durham University

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Computational Research on the Ancient Near East (CRANE)

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


This interdisciplinary project, funded primarily by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, seeks to create a framework for the integration and analysis of data from several archaeological projects investigating the ancient Near East, focusing initially on the Orontes River Watershed of southeast Turkey and northwest Syria. Prof Graham Philip is the lead partner from Durham University.

The Project is building an international collaboration of researchers who will use these data to model and visualize the interplay of social, economic and environmental dynamics at various spatial and temporal scales in order to shed light on the rise and development of complex societies in this important region. Further details on the project can be found at

The contribution of the Durham team involves:

1. An analytical programme designed to track long-term patterns in ceramic technology, raw material selection and patterns of production and distribution from the Neolithic period to the Iron Age. Undertaken by project PDRA Dr Kamal Badreshany this draws upon material from the University College London excavation at Tell Nebi Mend directed by Peter Parr (1976-94) and Syrian-British survey work in the Homs region.

2. Work with Dr Marianne Boqvist of the Swedish Research institute in Istanbul on the translation and analysis of data from 16th century AD Ottoman daftars (tax assessment records). We are seeking to explore the contribution that administrative records can make to our understanding of population, agricultural and economic practices in the region.

3. Exploring the potential for a programme of palaeoenvironmental analysis at selected locations within the Orontes Valley.


From the Department of Archaeology