The first four seasons of excavation at Qalatga Darband
John MacGinnis – British Museum
The Darband-i Rania Archaeological Project is one of two new British Museum field projects in Iraq initiated in order to provide a platform for the field training of the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme, a programme funded by the government of the United Kingdom and delivered by the British Museum under the direction of Jonathan Tubb. Following a visit to the Kurdish Region of Iraq in January 2016, during which many possible sites were considered, an application was made to the Directorate of Antiquities of Kurdistan for permission to work at a group of three sites – Qalatga Darband, Usu Aska and Murad Rasu – located close together at the Darband-i Rania pass at the northeastern corner of Lake Dokan (Fig. 1). A major factor behind the choice of these sites was that they offered the opportunity to pursue research along avenues little explored in the region. But an important consideration was that all three sites were subject to significant and ongoing degradation, such that there was an imperative to record and explore these sites at the earliest possible moment. The permit was granted in August 2016 and work commenced the following month. We would like to record our profound thanks to Nawroz Mawlud, Minister for Municipalities, to Mala Awat, then General Director of Antiquities of Kurdistan, to Kaifi Mustafa Ali, his successor as General Director of Antiquities of Kurdistan, to Kamal Rasheed Raheem, Head of the Directorate of Antiquities of Sulaimaniya, and to Barzan Baiz Ismail, Head of the Directorate of Antiquities of Raparin, for their help and support.
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