Lecture by Dr. Emily Hammer, University of Pennsylvania
After several decades of closure to foreign researchers, the heartland of the world’s earliest cities in southern Iraq has reopened for archaeological expeditions. The long research hiatus has meant that the archaeology of this region missed out on many important advances in the discipline, especially the use of many digital technologies. Dr. Hammer will discuss recent fieldwork in 2017 and 2019 at two of the most important early Mesopotamian cities, Ur (Tell al-Muqayyar) and Lagash (Tell al-Hiba). She investigates what the edges of these cities were like: What did people do on city fringe? How did the cities receive their water, and were they were surrounded by fields or marshes? New sources of historical aerial imagery, recent UAV (drone) photography, archaeological survey, and geological coring answer these and other questions, telling us a lot about the sizes of ancient Ur and Lagash and about the environments in which these cities emerged.