[main] : [Excavations] : [Tell Aray] [Tell Abd el-Aziz] [Tell el-Kerkh]

Tell el-Kerkh 2, a small circular mound, was discovered on the western side of the junction of Tell el-Kerkh 1 and Tell Ain el-Kerkh. Its diameter is about 180m with the height of 5m above the surrounding area. Because a substantial number of Neolithic flint chipped stones were collected from the surface, the site was selected for soundings to establish the earliest chronology of the Rouj basin. As a result, layers 1 to 4 are attested as El-Rouj 2b period (early phase of Pottery Neolithic), layers 5 and 6 El-Rouj 2a period (beginning of Pottery Neolithic), and layers 7 to 12 El-Rouj 1 period (Pre-pottery Neolithic).

The sounding was carried out from September 9 to October 11, 1992. At the center of the tell, a 5x5m sounding pit was set up and named Test Pit A (T.P.-A)(fig.1). In all, twelve layers, from layer 1 downward, were recognized until we reached naturally accumulated virgin soil at a depth of 4.30m from the surface. Structural remains were well preserved in some layers.

In layers 2 to 4, circular buildings were repeatedly constructed in the same place. All of them had carefully plastered floors on pebble foundations (fig.2). The inner surface of walls and floors were heavily burnt. We are not certain of the function of these structures, but they appear to have used as kilns or for storage purpose. In layer 7, firmly constructed rectangular rooms made of pis
Ewere found throughout the sounding pit (fig.3). Along the relatively thick wall a pair of small rectangular rooms stood side by side probably serving as storage facilities. In layers 11 and 12, an ash pit and thick ash layers were discovered. This place, although it was possibly a courtyard or open space outside, shows the trace of the first occupation of the site.

We found almost 1450 Neolithic pottery sherds throughout layers 1 to 6. These sherds can be divided into three main ware group: Kerkh Ware (one of the earliest known pottery in the Levant), DFBW, and Coarse Ware (see Tsuneki and Miyake 1996). In layer 7, only two small sherds were recovered from the uppermost soil covering Str.12. Apart from these two samples in layer 7, virtually no pottery sherd were found from layers 7 to 12.

Chipped stone artefacts were recovered throughout layer 1 to 12 and account for more than 3300 pieces. No chronological break is seen in a techno-morphological feature of the industry. Both bi-polar and uni-polar core were used through the sequence. Tool-kit is mainly represented by sickle blade, scraper, and point such as Byblos, Ugarit, Amuq type.

(Including studies of other artefacts and natural remains, a final report of the excavations is now in process.)

Photos of Artefacts
Chipped Stones / Pottery / Ground Stones / Bone Tools

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Currently designed and constructed by Shannon Gibbs, Osamu MAEDA.
Last edited 25th of December 2000