A Damage Assessment of Iraq’s Past: Archaeological Heritage Management on the Rania Plain in Iraqi Kurdistan

Tim Boaz Bruun Skuldbøl, Carlo Colantoni


This paper advocates an increasing focus on damage assessment, monitoring and adaptation to the impact of urban development on archaeologically rich regions.

As a case-study of the wider Middle East, this discussion focuses on archaeological strategies for damage assessment, monitoring and handling archaeological cultural resources on the Rania plain in the Kurdistan autonomous region of northeast Iraq. The pressures of modern development, with extensive infrastructure development, rapid expansion of population settlements and a hydro-electric dam, whose waters inundate a substantial proportion of the plain, make the recording of valuable cultural heritage a demanding task.


Heritage Management; Urban Developmental Pressure; Damage Assessment; Iraq; Archaeological Strategies and Methods

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2014.3.2172

Tim Boaz Bruun Skuldbøl is the director of the “University of Copenhagen Archaeological Project on the Rania Plain, Iraqi Kurdistan” in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the management of garbage in urban societies and on the development of urbanism in marginal regions of Ancient Mesopotamia. email: tbbs@hum.ku.dk

Carlo Colantoni was Assistant Professor in Near Eastern Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology at Bitlis Eren University, Turkey. His research includes analyses of settlement patterns and landscape surveys of Ancient Mesopotamia; architecture and the built environment; and human behavioural responses to environment and societal collapse in complex ancient societies. Presently, he is undertaking research in south-western Turkey and northern Iraq. Colantoni is currently the Survey Leader for the University of Copenhagen’s archaeological investigations in Iraqi Kurdistan. email: carlo.colantoni@cantab.net