Timothy Matney

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Akron, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10474

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Matney, Timothy (Akron, U. of) "The Sebittu Project: Deportees, Agrarian Economy and Environment in the Rural Hamlets and Farmsteads of Imperial Assyria"

This proposal requests funds to pilot an archaeology project exploring the nature of the agrarian infrastructure of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (9th-7th century BC) in the Erbil Plain of Iraqi Kurdistan. What is novel about the Sebittu Project is that it takes a bottom-up approach to understanding the imperial agrarian economy and environment. The Sebittu Project breaks with traditional urban-centered excavation strategies by surveying and excavating a cluster of seven very small villages, hamlets, and farmsteads where primary food and craft production took place. The Neo-Assyrian administrative cuneiform texts make clear the importance of these small places to the imperial project, but very little physical evidence has been scientifically excavated. The Sebittu Project will focus on the collection and intepretation of paleobotanical, zooarchaeological, and environmental data from primary contexts to address broad research questions regarding models of Assyrian imperial expansion, internal organization of agrarian settlements, paleoenvironment conditions, and human impacts on the landscape. Of particular focus for this Wenner-Gren proposal, the Sebittu Project will examine the role of deportees ‘ hundreds of thousands of farmers and craftspersons moved from conquered territories across the imperial periphery by the Assyrian king ‘ in populating and working at these villages, hamlets, and farmsteads.