Christine Kepinski (Director of Research CNRS, HDR University of Paris I, UMR 7041)
How Eveha Participates
The site of Kunara, which was identified during walk-over survey in 2011, was first excavated in 2012.
Mapping the site
Initially, magnetic survey was carried out on the parts of the site where terrain permitted – principally on the Lower Town.
This revealed the presence of numerous walls, but the most remarkable discovery was that of a large rectangular building measuring 60x30m, bordered by several parallel walls on its east side. The density of construction on the site was thus demonstrated and the existence of a monumental complex confirmed.
A general topographic survey was also conducted which allowed the surface area to be estimated at between 7 and 9 hectares.
The subsequent excavations
Excavation took place in three zones.
In the Upper Town, the remains of a monumental building appeared at only a few dozen centimetres below the present surface. Two perpendicular walls 3 metres wide were identified. They had been built using stone, mud bricks and pisé (rammed earth). Bordering these walls was a space which seems to have formed an enormous courtyard, but only a small area of this was uncovered. A pipeline runs through this exterior space. Pottery finds associated with these features suggest a late 3rd millennium BC date.
In the Lower Town, stone masonry was uncovered in one zone, but this had been heavily eroded and disturbed by agriculture. It appears to be the foundations of a building, but no floor level was found that could be associated with the remains. This level belongs to the latest period of occupation of the site, which seems to have been in the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1800 BC).
The same zone contained two parallel walls of varying width which date from an earlier period. They were identified in two different trenches and were almost 35 metres long. It is likely that they belong to the monumental building identified by the geophysical survey. Several remarkable artefacts were found in the layers associated with these walls. The many examples of pottery firing accidents indicate the probable presence of a potter’s workshop close-by. Even more exceptional is the cylinder seal found within a probable room. It is engraved with a scene containing several characters. Such artefacts allow these structures to be dated to the late 3rd millennium BC, and they could therefore be contemporary with the large building discovered in the Upper Town.
A second zone uncovered in the Lower Town revealed two main chronological horizons. The first of these is dated to the Middle Bronze Age and is represented by various walls belonging to two main buildings. Their lower sections are in stone, but the upper parts were probably made from mud bricks: a considerable quantity of collapsed material was found in close proximity. Within one of these buildings, a work space could be identified based on the artefacts recovered: earthenware jars, pestles, grinding stones, millstone.
Three rooms from the same monument were identified and dated to the Early Bronze Age (2350-2000 BC) – the earliest period present on the site. The walls are remarkable, as they appear to have been preserved up to ceiling height. The lower part is made of stone. A panel of pisé covers this level, which is in turn topped by a level of either mud or fired bricks. The construction techniques used demonstrate great diversity. Several occupation levels and remarkable structures such as a domestic oven are also associated with this ensemble.
The results of this first field season are therefore very promising. A number of major architectural phases have been identified at Kunara, some of which incorporate monumental structures. Furthermore, the artefacts found are rich and varied. Specialist analysis of these, in conjunction with the results of C14 dating and a careful examination of the site’s stratigraphy should make Kunara a site of reference for the region.