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Department of Archaeology


The project is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the Kurdistan Directorate of Antiquities (General Director: Kaify Mustafa Ali), specifically with the Directorate of Antiquities, Soran Province (Director: Abdulwahab Soleiman). 

The project is led by Graeme Barker (University of Cambridge), with Dr Tim Reynolds (Birkbeck College London) directing the excavations, Professor Chris Hunt (Liverpool John Moores University) the palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological studies, and Dr Emma Pomeroy (University of Cambridge) the Neanderthal osteoarchaeological studies.  

Research Fellows Dr Lucy Farr (University of Cambridge; sedimentology), Dr Sacha Jones (University of Cambridge; lithic analysis) and Dr Evan Hill (Queen’s University Belfast; molluscan analysis), and PhD students Marta Fiacconi  (Queen’s University Belfast and Liverpool John Moores University; palynology) and Andreas Nymark (Birkbeck College London; lithic analysis) have been funded by the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant and PhD student Emily Tilby (University of Cambridge; microfaunal analysis) by the Natural Environment Research Council.  

(left) A block of sediment prior to its removal for micromorphological analysis in Cambridge where the block is impregnated with wax over several months and slices cut through it, attached to glass slides and ground down to a thin section (right) for analysing its microscopic structure.  The 10 x 4 cm thin section shows the ash and charcoal of a small single-use camp fire. Scale in left image: 10 cm. (Field photograph: Graeme Barker; thin section image: Lucy Farr)

Professional excavation expertise has been provided by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (Director: Professor Paul Bennett, Project Managers James Holman and Ross Lane, Project Officers Hazel Mosley and Jess Twyman).

Specialist contributors to the analytical programme include: Dr Eleni Asouti (University of Liverpool): charcoal); Dr Marjolein Bosch (University of Cambridge): macrofauna); Dr Thibaut Deviese (University of Oxford): 14C dating; Dr Katerina Douka (University of Oxford): 14C dating; Dr Marine Frouin (University of Oxford and Stonybrook University): OSL dating;  Prof Bernard Gratuze (University of Orléans): obsidian characterisation; Dr Çeren Kabukcu (University of Liverpool): charcoal; Prof Marta Lahr (University of Cambridge ): human osteology); Dr Giuseppina Mutri (University of Rome and Cyprus Archaeology Institute): lithic usewear/organic residues; Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger (University of Oxford): OSL dating; Professor Eske Willerslev and Dr Mikkel Winther Pederson (Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen: ancient DNA; Professor Marta Mirazón Lahr and Dr Federica Crivellaro.

Dr Emma Pomeroy, the project's osteoarchaeologist, applying chemical consolidant to the Neanderthal bones before their removal. (Photograph: Graeme Barker)

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