Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Geology of the Archeological Hills and Monuments, Examples from Iraq

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  • Abstract

    Iraq is the cradle of many civilizations; therefore, it is very rich in archeological sites, which are represented in different forms; among them are the archeological hills and monuments. Hundreds of archeological hills and monuments are located in different parts of Iraq, but the majority of the hills are located in the Mesopotamia and Low Mountainous Province; with less abundant in the Jazira Province. The isolated archeological hills are of two different forms: Either are in form of dumping soil to a certain height to build the hill, or has gained their heights due to the presence of multi stories of civilizations. In both cases, the geological setting has played a big role in the formation of the isolated archeological hills. The archeological isolated hills, which are built by soil dumping are usually of conical shape; flat topped and limited sizes; with heights not more than 10 m and base diameter of (20 100) m. They can be seen from far distances that attain to few kilometers. Since they are usually built in flat areas and are believed to be used as watching towers. However, those which are present in the Mesopotamia Province are smaller in size; not more than (3 5) m in height and about 10 m in base diameter; also with conical shape, they are called as "Ishan". The isolated archeological sites, which are built by multi stories, are either in form of citadels (castles) like Arbeel and Kirkuk castles, or built as a certain form and used for religious purposes; called "Zaqoorah", like Aqarqoof and Ur Zaqooras. Tens of monuments were discovered in different parts of Iraq witnessing different civilizations. Some of the monuments are built and/ or sculptured from rocks. Usually, the nearby exposed rocks were used; however, locally rocks were transported from few tens of kilometers. The most common used rocks are gypsum and limestone; however, very rarely basalt was used too. In certain locations, the geology of the quarried rocks is given too.