Erbil History, Archaeology, Arts and Architecture
UKH & Ifpo Online Bi-Monthly Seminars (second round) A/Y 2021-2022
Thursdays 2:00 – 4:00 PM (Erbil Time, UTC +3)
Zoom Link: https://ukh.zoom.us/j/98662478252
Meeting ID: 986 6247 8252
Thursday, June 2nd, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
The Geology of Erbil Citadel, by Varoujan SISSAKIAN
The Erbil citadel is located on a distinct hill (“tell”). The shape is a large, oval hill with longitudinal E – W axis, and is a typical isolated hill “tell” within the wide Erbil Plain, which is covered by alluvial fan and bradded streams’ sediments of Pleistocene age and even early Holocene. According to many archeologists the tell means a large mound created by many generation buildings one on top of another.The current seminar delas mainly with the stability of the slopes of the tell. Interpretation of Google Earth images and some field photos indicate that the slopes of the tell suffer from instability problems. Steps of different dimensions are very clear on the slopes at different elevations indicating unstable slopes.
In one locality, the presence of uneven slopes is good indication for unstable slope. Moreover, the slopes of the tell suffer from rill erosion which can be changed by time to gulley erosion. All these phenomena may endanger severely the stability of the existing historical buildings on the top of the tell. It is highly recommended to take urgent actions to keep the stability of the slopes. A very quick and easy technique can be used to assess the slope stability, it is called Bejerman’s Method. The method includes ten aspects, which can be measured directly insitu, accordingly, the stability of the slopes can be known with indicating landslide possibility.
Thursday, May 19th, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
Erbil Citadel from a Monumental Towards a Living Heritage Approach, by Mohamed Y. M. AL-BARZNGY
The efficiency of Erbil citadel as a world heritage site with substantial historic value, being the longest continuously inhabited settlement globally, raises questions. The site suffered intensively from inadequate maintenance by its previous inhabitants because of not having clear legislation by authorities to prevent such practices. Those were mostly from other areas (distant villages) displaced by central government in the 1980s. These were evacuated in 2006 as an attempt to nominate the citadel for World Heritage List. Later, the site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. However, this inscription is not a magic tool through which such a site can be enlivened but acts as a medium to raise awareness of local communities and stakeholders towards the significance of the heritage site/monument, preventing further deterioration and providing an avenue for systematic provision of funds from international and local organizations. This paper will use the available documentation for detecting the current condition of the citadel especially its architectural elements as the backbone of the citadel heritage site.
The aim of this paper is to assess the current condition and approach of heritage preservation implemented so far in the citadel followed by recommendation for a proper approach which can contribute to enlivening the citadel as a traditional architectural landmark for the city and the region as a whole.
The investigation found that the current approach of Erbil citadel preservation is a monumental (dead) heritage approach in which the heritage site is seen as a static object of the past to be passed on to future generations. Enlivening such a heritage requires more innovative approach through which the living dimension of the heritage site is emphasized.
Erbil as Referred to in the Ottoman Archive Documents, by Ashty RAHMAN
Erbil is one of the old urban settlements, its history may go back to 5000 BCE, it was ruled, governed and inhabited by various nations and states, like (but not limited to) Assyrian, Sasanian, later various Islamic states (Umayyad and Abbasid) ending with Ottomans after the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514 between Safavid and Ottoman empires. Erbil City and its surroundings became part of the Ottoman Empire till the year 1920 when Iraq as a state was established.
Starting from the 16th century, Erbil area became officially part of the Ottoman Empire properties, it was a center of a (Kazaa) composed of 2 (Nahiaa) and 300 villages as per the administrative hierarchy of the Ottoman Empire at that time. Erbil (Kazza) was related to Baghdad (Vilayet) then it was elated to (Shaherzoor Sanjak) then it was part of Mosul (Vilayet). Erbil city inhabitants were mainly state official staff, craftsmen and trades men, while the surrounding area was inhabited by tribal nomads and villagers who were mainly Kurds who were practicing cattle raising and agriculture, Erbil City had a strategic location being a station within the Mosul Baghdad transportation route. This location gave it a transportation, communication and economic importance in the area. Citizens of Erbil City were Muslims, Christians and Jews who managed to live together in peace for centuries. It was a place for people of multi-ethnic origin peaceful living.
Documents of the Ottoman Archive were official letters that maintains the communication administration and government issues of the Ottoman Empire. Today these documents are historical evidence that contains important and essential information that can fill gaps in the historical narration regarding Erbil City especially for the period from 1700-1920.
Thursday, May 12th, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
The Role of Arbail and Ishtar Arbail in Assyria, by Farah AL HASHIMI
This presentation will focus on the significant role that Arbail (now Erbil) played in Assyria and its wars.
Hifaz-Iraq: Presentation of a Cooperation Project on Heritage Between Ifpo, Salahaddin University-Erbil and the University of Mosul, by Caecilia PIERI
This project aims to develop a training of trainers which will focus on specialized subjects in the field of the conservation of the built heritage (or monuments and sites). It will contribute to upgrade conservation of the built heritage to an academic and professional specialisation within both archaeology (a branch of the humanities) and architecture/construction. It is primarily designed to be interdisciplinary by bringing together staff and students who are usually separated, i.e. archaeologists and architects. In each university, core courses will be therefore taken jointly by students from scientific and literary streams. Trainers are coming from Lebanon, Iraq and Europe.
Thursday, April 21th, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
Erbil Citadel from a Historic Symbol to be a Brand of the City, by Haval SAMI
Erbil as one of the oldest cities in the world, has been passed through many historical events. This has been contributed to promote Erbil in the world that also resulted as the Erbil Citadel site was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. In last decades Erbil despite of the ISIS problems Erbil has attract many external people as Tourist and Investor.
The Erbil citadel has a historical value and has been recognized and symbolized to present Erbil in Poems and many artistic works, this study will focus on the indicators that show the potentiality of Erbil citadel to be presented as brand for the city.
Conservation and Revitalization of Erbil Citadel, by David MICHELMORE
Erbil Citadel is a large tell, up to 32 metres high and occupying an area of 15 hectares at the bottom. It is situated on flat ground and its height is the result of the reconstruction of mud-brick buildings over the last 8,000 years and represents one of the best examples of the first period of urbanisation in human history and one of the few such sites which has been continuously occupied until the present – one of the key justifications for its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It survived the Bronze Age Collapse of the 12th century BC and flourished during the Neo-Assyrian empire, particularly during the reign of Ashurbanipal (reigned 669 – 631 BC), who had been brought up in the Temple of Ishtar in the Citadel. During this period, there was a substantial lower city. Erbil again flourished as the capital of Adiabene, a client kingdom of the Parthian empire (1st century BC to 3rd century AD), and flourished during a medieval golden age in the reign of Muzaffer Ed-Din Kokburi (reigned AD 1191 – 1233), when the lower city was again expanded, only to be destroyed by the Mongols in 1237 (the Citadel itself was not captured). During the Ottoman period (1514 – 1918), the Citadel was the main part of Erbil with a lower city containing the bazaar in a semicircle to the south of the Citadel mound. Erbil is therefore an important archaeological site, in addition to its built heritage.
The 588 plots in the Citadel contain 320 historic buildings, most of which fell into bad condition during the 20th century. The size of the task in achieving the physical rehabilitation of the building stock, most of which is owned by the government, and the conversion of the Citadel to the cultural, social and tourism hub of the modern city of Erbil requires a PPP approach. The government should be responsible for the installation of services and indeed much of this has already been done, but the conservation of the large number of historic houses which exist will require private finance. The conservation of the Hashim Chelabi House, in which the Kurdish Textile Museum is housed, provides and exemplar of good practice. The design and implementation of the conservation was undertaken by the Consultancy for Conservation, with funding provided by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, matched dollar for dollar by the Governorate of Erbil, with monitoring and technical supervision provided by the HCECR.
Thursday, April 7th, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
Structural Assessment of Historical and Conventional Masonry Constructions, by Fouad MOHAMMAD
This work deals with the structural assessment of historical and conventional masonry constructions. The term masonry applies to traditional stonework, brickwork and blockwork which are extensively used worldwide as low-cost vernacular buildings and historical constructions. Stone, adobe, and brick are all typical materials used as part of the structural system of historic buildings such as Erbil citadel, Minerat Al-Hadba and Pizza tower, to name a few. These types of masonry constructions exhibit a degree of complexity in terms form, geometry, material, loading, damage, and history. Therefore, an appropriate structural assessment ought to be conducted by qualified building surveyors and professional structural engineers before performing any restoration or rehabilitation treatments with regard to architectural conservation of conventional and historical buildings. Structural appraisal can be defined as the process of checking the adequacy of an existing structure and this can be examined under overall stability, strength, robustness, stiffness, …etc. Structural appraisal is a different activity to structural design. It is aimed at assessing the real condition of an existing structure, hence finding out whether the structure is adequately safe now and will it remain so in the future; and if it can be used for its intended purpose now and in the foreseeable future. This work tries to identify defects occur in masonry buildings for a variety of reasons. Hence, requires a systematic investigation comprising of visual observations, oral and recorded information, and structural monitoring. The necessary obtained information should predominantly cover date of construction, sketch plans of each level, structural materials used, details of any modifications and alterations, details of cracks, distortion measurements of walls and floors. The study presents and discusses real cases of cracks and damages and their classification according to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Digest 251. In addition, it suggests that further investigation such as non-destructive testing and soil investigation or even advanced numerical methods should be conducted whenever feasible in order to confirm or determine the exact cause of damage. Consequently, the right and most efficient remedy or restoration approach can be adopted.
Erbil Citadel in Local Artist Artworks, by Hewa A. PERDAWOOD
During the last decade, the history of art in the city of Erbil went through various levels of development. The most iconic symbol in the city is the citadel which has been a great part of our memory as locals. Accordingly, the symbol can be seen and mentioned in most artworks, poems and even movies and plays. So, throughout this paper, I will focus on showing most of the paintings that portrayed the citadel of Erbil. Moreover, despite the different technical levels of work in these artworks we can note the vision and background of the artists in different times, which affects directly onto the canvas by showing their expression for the iconic symbol in the city. In this work, I will also be focusing on colours, spaces and styles inside the paintings.
Thursday, March 17th, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
The impact of Urban Transformation for Old Erbil City on the Structure of its Surroundings
by Shaymaa Fadhil ALKUBAISI, Koya University
This lecture will talk about the urban transformation of Erbil City and how it is constructed with time and the effect of the transformation of this structure on the surroundings neighborhoods like Taajeel, Khanaqa and Arab neighborhoods.
This is an analytical study explaining why heritage areas have decayed, including suggestions to re connect with the live areas.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
The Assyrian City and its Landscape: Centers, Peripheries, and the People
by Maria-Grazia MASETTI-ROUAULT, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes – Paris
The relations between urban planning and Assyrian history have often been studied from a philological or an archaeological point of view. The themes connected with the creation of the city or its reconstruction in the Assyrian world, since the beginning of the second millennium BC, are discussed mainly in studies analyzing kingship, and the ideology of kingship, as it is expressed in the royal inscriptions. Assyrian kings are acknowledged as the authors of any important construction, in the city as well as in the landscape. For this reason, urban topography is considered to reflect only their own use of spaces and their interests, also in communication. In this lecture, presenting our experiences of research
studying the site of Qasr Shemamok – the Assyrian town called Kilizu, close to Erbil -, I will try to explain why the perception of the urban landscape simply as the result of a royal project, now often strengthened by the vision offered
by satellite pictures, with images produced by remote sensing or by surface surveys, must be exploited in a careful way, using all our critical historical and archaeological knowledge. The narration of the Assyrian royal inscriptions, often
coincident with the visual impact of these often powerful images, should not satisfy too easily our interest in the meaning of the urban forms. The new data and documentation can open for us new ways to identify and to understand the different agencies, social situations, economic interests and environmental factors determining the creation, the evolution, and the collapse of urban occupations, and of all the society managing them.
Imperial Landscapes and Climatic Variations from Assyria to Parthia in the Erbil Plain
by Rocco Palermo, Università di Pisa
The idea of environmental constraints as impact factors influencing the structural transformation of ancient and modern communities and their relative economies has recently gained a prominent role on the scientific agenda. This is particularly true for Northern Mesopotamia, a region placed at the intersection of the oak-rich woods of Anatolia and the Arabian desert, a climatic zone where the interannual rainfall variability oscillates, thereby considerably affecting harvest practices, with great consequences on both political and social mechanics. Recent climatic proxies from the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan have been employed to suggest that environmental factors were one of the triggers causing the political transformation of the (former) Assyrian core area in northern Iraq. In this talk, I employ settlement data from different parts of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to compare with the paleoenvironmental proxies and other large-scale surveys from the region, in order to tentatively correlate phenomena of contraction and expansion of settlements in post-Assyrian Mesopotamia and the climatic oscillations in the region.
Thursday, February 17th, 2-4 pm (Erbil time, UTC+3)
Thursday, January 3rd, 2-4 PM (Erbil time, UTC+3)
Opening Speech by B. Rammel, UKH brief by S. Atrooshi , Ifpo brief by B. Couturaud et D. Pieri
Using Photogrammetry in Documentation of Cultural Heritage
By Haval Abdul Jabbar SADEQ
The cultural heritage is suffering from the risk of disappearing either due to severe weather conditions or human impacts, therefore it is essential to document the status of the sites precisely so as to be used later during the process of restoration and renovation. Although different techniques are available for documenting the heritage sites such as tapes and total stations which are listed to be direct measurements, they are specified to be time-consuming either during object measurements or plotting the data. On the other hand, indirect measurements have been used in the archaeological site documentation such as laser scanning and photogrammetry. Although laser scanning is specified to be very accurate and fast, it is specified to be very expensive and is difficult to be used in the old buildings due to the risk of the collapse, especially the roofs. Meanwhile the recent development in computers and image capturing devices has led photogrammetry to be very cost-effective in heritage site documentation which leads to producing 3D models for the objects, 3D vector maps, digital orthophoto, digital surface models and sections using simple technics.