Universiteit Leiden

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24 years of excavations on one DVD: The archive of Tell Sabi Abyad will be digitized with a grant from DANS

DANS (Digital Archiving and Networked Services - an institute of the KNAW) has granted an application for a Small Data Project for the digitizing and disclosure of the Tell Sabi Abyad archive.

Excavations at Tell Sabi Abyad in Syria have taken place for twenty four years, from 1986 to 2010. The site is well-known nationally and internationally as a key site due to the systematic and thorough investigation undertaken into periods which were previously poorly known: the Late Neolithic (ca. 7000-5500 BC.); and the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1300-1000 BC.). The research has also resulted in several significant publications, a number of PhD projects and two major research projects.

This very important archaeological project of Leiden University has been temporarily halted by the current civil war in the country. The research however goes on unabated: a book about the Neolithic excavations on the mound will appear shortly; and the Late Bronze Age settlement is currently being examined within a project funded by the European Research Council.

The interruption in the fieldwork at Tell Sabi Abyad due to the Syrian civil war has provided the opportunity to modernize and make public the archive of the Tell Sabi Abyad excavations. Due to the fact that the excavations ran continuously from 1986, the archive is still largely on paper and only physically accessible. The extensive Tell Sabi Abyad archive is currently based in an office in the Faculty of Archaeology and includes nearly 300 binders with around 100,000 forms, as well as hundreds of thousands of slides and field drawings, databases etc.

The purpose of the Tell Sabi Abyad Archiving Project is to modernize and make publicly accessible the excavations archives of Tell Sabi Abyad to scientists around the world. In this way, the Tell Sabi Abyad archive will set an example for the archaeology of the Near East, in the Netherlands and beyond.


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