Systematic, total coverage, regional survey has been developed over several seasons of fieldwork:
1984 Charles A. Forrest, Mohammed Muslim, Harvey Weiss
The survey collections are now stored, through the cooperation of the Directorate-General of Antiquities, SAR, in:
Continuing analyses of the collections at the three storage facilities include:
The survey has used LANDSAT, SPOT and CORONA imagery, GPS-fixed site coordinates, and SAR topographic maps ranging from 1:100,000 to 1: 10,000. Topographic plans of individual sites were mapped by Richard McNeill in 1995 and 1997 using a Leitz total station. Preliminary data from the survey have been published in Weiss 1986, Stein and Wattenmaker 1991, Weiss et al 2002, Weiss 2003, Ristvet and Weiss 2005.
The preliminary regional settlement maps [ PDF - 452.0 KB ]
The field-recorded data, most 1995 and 1997, were assembled by Lauren Ristvet, with assistance from Mark Besonen, for Leilan periods IV-I. These ceramic periods have been defined using Leilan-excavated stratigraphic ceramic assemblages analyzed in Schwartz 1988 (Ph.D. diss., Yale), Senior and Weiss 1992, Senior 1998 (Ph.D. diss., Arizona), Ristvet 1999 (B.A. thesis, Yale), Pulhan 2000 (Ph.D. diss., Yale), Ristvet and Weiss 2000, Calderone and Weiss 2003, Mayo and Weiss 2003, Ristvet and McCarthy 2002, Ristvet, Guilderson and Weiss 2004, Ristvet 2005 (Ph.D. diss., Cambridge), and Reade 1982 for the Leilan IIc assemblage that is Taya VI.
Immediately visible in these regional settlement maps are some of the most significant events and processes of ancient Mesopotamian history:
These regional settlement data are summarized in the histogram of hectares occupied/ceramic time period .
The settlement transformations of the Leilan region landscape through time can be disarticulated with remotely sensed data, including LANDSAT and CORONA imagery .
For example, the satellite imagery reveals:
These data contribute to understanding the van Liere and Lauffrray (1954/1955) "routes rayonnantes" that have vexed archaeologists for decades. Ground-truth observations of satellite imagery have been complemented with archaeological surface survey, and villagers' oral histories recorded region-wide. For instance, Tell Garassa, 15 kilometers south of Tell Leilan on the west bank of the wadi Jarrah, was a regional center from Halaf through Islamic periods. The village of Damerji, on the east bank of the wadi Jarrah, was founded ca. 1951 by Hreth villagers. There is no archaeological site at Damerji, and there is no modern village at Tell Garassa. On van Liere and Lauffray's map (1954/1955), however, Damerji is the nexus of their "routes rayonnantes" that have been superimposed here upon the satellite imagery. The "routes rayonnantes" also extend towards Mazluma, a modern village, mostly Kurdish, founded in 1951, which lacks any previous, archaeologically detectable, settlement.
Perhaps most instructive, however, is the distribution of ancient occupations among the Garassa region's ten sites linked with "routes rayonnantes":
The occupations of sites that are not linked with "routes rayonnantes" are similarly revealing:
These "routes rayonnantes" link ancient sites occupied asynchronously and do not link sites occupied synchronously ---apart from some recent modern villages. These "routes rayonnantes" are, therefore, not roads linking third millennium BC settlements, but tracks linking modern villages. After these observations were made, W.J. van Liere , in a telephone conversation from his home in Thailand, remarked, "Ignore the 'routes rayonnantes'; they are modern sheep tracks."