The “Land of Nineveh Archaeological Project (LoNAP)” is a wide-ranging multidisciplinary research project carried out by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Assyria (IAMA) of the University of Udine. Its aim is to study the archaeological landscape of the region of Dohuk (Iraqi Kurdistan) and record, conserve and promote the incredible cultural heritage of this region that lies in the immediate hinterland of Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire.
By means of an archaeological survey covering an area of about 3000 sq km and the excavation of the site of Tell Gomel (ancient Gaugamela, where Alexander the Great defeated Darius III and completed his conquest of the Persian empire), the project targets the formation and evolution of the cultural and natural landscape of a crucial region of ancient Mesopotamia, from prehistory to the Islamic era. This region, thus far never properly explored by any modern archaeological mission, was one of the key areas of the “agricultural revolution”, that brought about the rise of the modern productive economy; it was also the political and geographic centre of Assyria, the first global empire in human history. Its study has thus profound implications for Near Eastern archaeology, as well as for the understanding of the great cultural processes that marked the overall progress of ancient human societies, from small prehistoric communities of hunter-gatherers up to the formation of great urban centres, the rise of territorial states and, ultimately, of the large-scale empires of the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The second purpose of IAMA is the recording, conservation and management of the extraordinary archaeological monuments that are to be found in the region of Dohuk. Thanks to our close cooperation with the local authorities (General Directorate of Antiquities of Kurdistan, Directorate of Antiquities of Dohuk, Governatorate of Dohuk), Task Force Iraq of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNESCO, and the World Monuments Fund of New York, the project makes a decisive contribution to the protection and promotion of the region’s outstanding cultural heritage. The massive water-management system built between the end of the 8th and the beginning of the 7th century BC by the Assyrian king Sennacherib (consisting of the first stone-built aqueducts in history, an extensive canal network and a series of celebrative monumental stone reliefs) has already been digitally recorded via 3D-scanning and photogrammetry and efforts to promote it are under way. Together with the Direction of Antiquities of Dohuk, IAMA is currently working for the insertion of the vast archaeological complex in the UNESCO “World Heritage List”
The project is financially supported by:
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (General Direction for Development Cooperation, Task Force Iraq and General Directorate for Country Promotion)
Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region and Informest
Province of Udine
University of Udine
Giorgiutti & Associates (Giorgiutti e Associati)