In this episode, we chat with Tina Abo Al-Soof recent top presenter at the 2022 Inquiry at Queen’s Conference. She sits down with us to discuss her paper and presentation entitled “The History of Archaeological Work and Attitudes towards Antiquities at Uruk.”
Uruk, also known as Warka, is an ancient Mesopotamian site in modern Iraq that has been the focus of archaeological exploration for over 165 years. Excavations at Uruk have revealed cultural remains from the Eridu period (ca. 5000 BCE) until the Parthian and Sasanian periods (ca. first and second centuries CE). The site is a key point of reference for understanding the development of early urbanisation, writing, architecture, production, and social structure. Over 165 years, changing politics, methods of archaeology and attitudes towards antiquities have affected the way the site was handled. My project focuses on those critical changes which reveal the evolution of archaeology from a Western-dominated affair to a more inclusive practice. In this presentation, I will discuss and evaluate the history of archaeological work and attitudes towards antiquities at Uruk with an emphasis on the teams that excavated there, their methods of excavation, the conditions of the permits they were given, and significant finds and their subsequent distribution. The analysis will be divided into historical time periods (from the Ottoman Period to Iraq after the US-led invasion of 2003) based on the modern history of this region. Governmental and professional policies are also explored in regard to antiquities laws, methods of archaeology and local versus foreign involvement.