RADII: Recording Archaeological Data from Iraq and Iran


RADII team visiting the Neolithic site of Bestansur, Iraq, February 2013The British Academy's International Partnership scheme supports a programme of activity entitled 'RADII: Recording Archaeological Data from Iraq and Iran', directed by Roger Matthews of the University of Reading and Hassan Fazeli Nashli of the University of Tehran and University of Reading. The project runs for three years from spring 2010 and involves intensive sessions of training in use of the Integrated Archaeological Data Base (IADB)

The IADB is a popular platform for recording of archaeological information from excavated sites, which enables integration and analysis of data from multiple lines of evidence.

Training sessions are conducted by Mike Rains of York Archaeological Trust, creator of the IADB, and took place in London in 2010, in Ankara, Turkey, in 2012 and finally in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq in February 2013.

Aims and Logistics

The original aim of RADII had been to bring small groups of Iraqi and Iranian archaeologists to the UK for short spells of training in use of the IADB, but our experience in 2010 of hosting three Iranian and three Iraqi archaeologists in London showed that for future sessions this would be prohibitively expensive as well as extremely difficult or impossible from the visa point of view. In 2012 the training session was held in Ankara, Turkey, with a further small group of visiting archaeologists. The biggest and most successful session took place in February 2013 in Sulaimaniyah city, in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area of Iraq. Low travel costs and ease of movement for Iranian visitors into Iraq, with no need for expensive visas, allowed for participation of eight Iranian archaeologists from a range of universities and the Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research.

The 2013 session

Twelve Iraqi participants arrived from all three provinces of the KRG: Sulaimaniyah, Erbil and Dohuk, including staff members from the universities of Sulaimaniyah and Salahaddin at Erbil as well as museum and antiquities staff from all three provinces. The session was hosted by Kamal Rasheed Raheem, Director of Sulaimaniyah Antiquities Directorate and took place in the library reading room.

Morning training sessions were followed by trips to nearby archaeological sites, including current excavations by Roger and Wendy Matthews at the Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Bestansur on the Shahrizor Plain, the Upper Palaeolithic cave site of Zarzi, and the Iron Age rock-cut tomb at Qizkapan. During the training sessions and the site visits, as well as through the shared meals and bus journeys, new relationships between archaeologists from the three participating countries were forged and there was much discussion about possible future projects in the field, in libraries and in museums.

This was the first time ever that archaeologists from the UK, Iran and Iraq had worked together and all participants hope that it can serve as a platform for future cultural engagement.

Read about the project leaders

Read about the excavations in Iran

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