Harran Excavations

Location: Harran; Şanlıurfa Province

Years: 1956, 1959

Project Directors: Storm Rice, J. B. Segal (1956)

Participants: D. E. Strong, Michael Balance (1956), Sabahat Gögüz (1956), R. W. Hamilton (1959), R. H. Pinder-Wilson (1959), and T. E. Inglis (1959)

Government Representatives: Sabahatan Arad (1959), Halil Gültekin (1959)

Funding: British Academy, Walker Trust, Leverhulme Fund


In 1956 Storm Rice and J. B. Segal led an excavation of the Great Mosque at Harran.  The excavation took three weeks, and revealed stone ornaments from the Ayyubid and earlier periods.  The work allowed for an update and modification of the plans made some decades previously by Creswell.  The east, west and north entrances were also cleared, and inscribed basalt stela were discovered, which Professor Gadd worked on deciphering.  The inscriptions point to the present-day site of Harran as being the Assyro-Babylonian Harranu.  Following the completion of the excavation, some monuments in and around Şanlıurfa and in Tektek were surveyed.  These surveys revealed tombs displaying inscriptions and mosaics, a city wall, the Harran gate and castle, and some monasteries and other buildings.  These were studied, planned, photographed, drawn, or recorded as appropriate.

Another season of work took place between 15 July and 1 September 1959, during which time some interesting discoveries were made.  Firstly, the Great Mosque was determined to be Ayyubid.  In addition to this, some cuneiform fragments were found near the temple, providing additional evidence of the location as that of Harranu, and a deep sounding revealed Medieval material helpful for stratification.  A second or third century AD warrior statue was discovered in the city wall.


1957: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1956’ Anatolian Studies 7: 6-7

1960: ‘Report of the Council of Management and of the Director for 1959’ Anatolian Studies 10: 4, 8

See also:

Gadd, C.J. 1958: ‘The Harran Inscriptions of Nabonidus’ Anatolian Studies 8: 35-92

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Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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