Project information

Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Project

Saving an amazing heritage before time runs out. Ziyaret Tepe was a provincial capital of the Assyrian Empire and is yielding absolutely unique finds - the latest Assyrian letter ever discovered and evidence for a previously unknown language. We only have a few years before it disppears forever.

January 2011 - December 2014

Charity information: Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Trust

Ziyaret Tepe Archaeological Trust
  • Need


    Salvaging as much of this archaeological heritage as possible before the site is flooded by the Ilisu Dam


    a programme of fieldwork consisting of mapping by remote sensing followed up by area excavation supported by a full range of scientific methods

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Mapping the site by remote sensing


    » By continuing the survey by resistivity with the aim of achieving complete coverage of the lower town

    What success will look like

    Success will be...creating a complete map of the lower town

    Aim 2

    Area excavation is selected areas.


    » by excavating * a major building in the western lower town * a block of low status housing * the lower phase of the administrative complex

    What success will look like

    Success will be...achieving the excavation of the selected areas

    Aim 3

    recovery of enviromental datasets


    » recovery of archaeozoological and archaeobotanical datasets by flotation of samples from all primary contexts

    What success will look like

    Success will be...recovery of these samples and their processing and study by the relevant specilaists

    Aim 4

    Publication and presentation


    » Publication of the results of the fieldwork in both preliminary and final reports and in lectures to both academic seminars and public audiences

    What success will look like

    Success will be...the publication of the preliminary and then final reports, and the delivery of lectures to academic and public audiences

    Aim 5

    outreach work with schools


    » outreach work with schools in the UK and in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

    What success will look like

    Success will sessions in schools and in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

  • Impact


    * This project will make a fundamental contribution to our understanding of the provincial operation of the Assyrian Empire

    * This success will be demonstrated by the appearance of the publications mentioned above and by the creation of a permanent display in the Diyarbakir Museum


    There are no unmanageable risks. The risks relating to safety on site are covered by our own risk management procedures as well as by the inspections carried out by the Turkish authorities


    * By letters sent out in acknowledgement of gifts, before the commencement of the field season and on completion of each season, the latter accompanied by a report
    * By personal meetings if possible
    * By invitation to our annual reception

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 UK salaries salaries of UK staff
      £35,000 wages in Turkey wages of local workforce
      £7,500 travel expenses flights, visas & travel insurance
      £10,000 field expenses utilities, car, driver etc
      £5,000 UK equipment tools, books, conservation supplies
      £7,500 fundraising fundraising, publicity and reception
      £5,000 publication subvention for final publications

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Cambridge University £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The site is located on the river Tigris 60 km east of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey


    (1) the local residences, both through employment on the project and through the gain to their local history
    (2) all mankind: this is saving unique heritage for the benefit of all mankind

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Because we have already have the experience of working on this site and have developed the necessary skills, local knowledge, working relationships and database

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr John MacGinnis

    Dr MacgInnis is the Field Director of the British Expedition to Ziyaret Tepe and directs operations in the lower town

    Nineb Lamassu

    Nineb is a true Assyrian - both a member of the modern Assyrian community and a qualified Assyriologist

    Paola Pugsley

    Paola is the draftsperson, responsible for recording all small finds coming in from the excavations

    Tina Greenfield

    Tina is the archaeozoologist responsible for the study and interpretation of the animal bones

Tablet with names in an unknown language

Tablet with names in an unknown language