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Archaeologists explore Iraqi marshes for origins of urbanization
Date:3/31/2011

tes delta and that the early cities in the marshes might have been precursors to agricultural settlements.

Carrying out any type of survey in a country at war is difficult and making arrangements becomes a daunting task.

"Ultimately, we found that the only way to get into the country that was cost effective was to go on a tour with a British tour company," said Hritz. "While in Bagdad, we met with the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, and they encouraged us to visit the sites with a SBAH representative and report back to them any observations."

The researchers also used local Iraqi security for their trip rather than hiring a foreign security firm. They spent a week on their British tour going from Bagdad to Basra and then spent five days with a private guide doing geoarchaeological survey in the Basra area.

"We saw everything we intended to see except for one area that was flooded," said Hritz. "We did not have the proper equipment to enter the flooded area."

Beside the preliminary survey, their aim was to establish collaborations with researchers at the University of Basra. They gave lectures at the university and met with geologists to determine what the researchers needed and the part that researchers and university could play.

Looting and damage to university laboratory equipment occurred during the initial stages of the current war in Iraq. The researchers plan to include the University of Basra scientists in their future work and hope to use not only their expertise, but also enhance their facilities.

"One thing we were able to do was to move forward the process to get the University of Basra access to JSTOR," said Hritz. "They now have access." JSTOR is an online database of more than 1,000 academic journals.


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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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