In October 2010 the University of Athens obtained permission by the Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG), the General Directorate of Antiquities of Kurdistan and the Directorate of Antiquities of Erbil to conduct excavations in two important archaeological sites: first in Tell Nader, which lies on the outskirts of the city of Erbil and then Tell Baqrta, approximately 28 km to the south of Erbil (Fig. 1). Tell Nader was discovered by Mr. Nader Babakr Muhammad, archaeologist of the General Directorate of Antiquities of Kurdistan and Tell Baqrta was brought to our attention by Dr. Narmen Ali Muhamad Amen, Professor of Archaeology at the Salahaddin University-Hawler. In November 2010 the University of Athens obtained written permission to conduct an excavation in both sites also by the Ministry of Culture of Iraq and the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. In addition, Mr. Nawzad Hadi Mawlood, the Governor of the Erbil Province, invited a team of the University of Athens in order to examine older and new theories concerning the location of the Gaugamela battlefield.
In April and early May 2011 a 14-member archaeological and a historical team from the University of Athens, under my direction, traveled to Erbil and started a systematic excavation at Tell Nader, conducted a preparatory survey at Tell Baqrta and a topographical survey in search of the Gaugamela battlefield. This has been the first Greek archaeological excavation in Mesopotamia.
This archaeological and historical expedition was financed by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism, by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Athens. The cost of the archaeobotanical and zooarchaeoloical research was financed by the University of Sheffield, UK. The airline Viking Hellas kindly sponsored a total of 17 airplane tickets. Also the Governorate of Erbil offered us inexpensive accommodation at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage and the company PLAISIO sponsored two laptop computers for our research.
The work of the Archaeological and Historical Mission of the University of Athens was monitored by the General Directorate of Antiquities of Kurdistan (under the direction of Mr. Malaawat Abubaker Othman Zendin) and the Directorate of Antiquities of Erbil (under the direction of Mr. Haydar Hassan Hussein).
Tell Nader Project