Soundings

Soundings were made in five different sites to identify the underground cultural assets of Hasankeyf according to the “Long-Term Action Plan” and schedule of the 2006 campaign. Two of the sounding pits were closed since they didn’t yield any finds; one pit was turned into a surface section for stratigraphic analysis; and the sounding work at two pits was changed to excavations.

Sounding I – Old Cemetery

A sounding was carried out in an area known as “Old Cemetery” at the lower city of Hasankeyf based on the architectural remains on the surface; and it was changed to a systematic excavation upon uncovering some walls. Initially the walls observed on the surface in an area of 15.00 x 20.00 m were traced, and the spaces delimited by these walls were identified, and coded as Compartment I; Compartment II and Compartment III (Image). Following the grid set up, trenches of 5.00 x 5.00 m were opened in the grid squares (A, B, C, D, F, G, H, I, J) to continue with excavations. As a result of the excavations in the area, it was found that the drinking and waste water network of the Medieval Age city of Hasankeyf reached to every unit in the settlement, and the waste water was collected and filtrated in sand pools for partial treatment, and then mixed with pure water before pouring into the Tigris River .This finding is actually a concrete proof of how Islamic Culture cared for civilization (urbanization) during the 12th century.

Sounding II – The İmam Abdullah Zawiyah

Due to the fact that the hill on which İmam Abdullah Zawiyah was built demonstrated characteristics of a mound, a sounding of 5.00 x 5.00 m was performed on the eastern slope of the zawiyah to understand if there was a mound underlying the hilltop as well as determining the current stratigraphy . The excavations ascertained that the hill on which the İmam Abdullah Zawiyah was built was not a mound.

Sounding III – The İmam Abdullah Zawiyah

The objective of the sounding activities initiated in coordination with Sounding II in the pool of the İmam Abdullah Zawiyah that was uncovered during previous excavations was to determine the stratigraphy of the hill on which the zawiyah was built. A 0.10 m thick soil layer filled to protect the floor of 0.75 m deep pool during previous excavations was removed, and the floor consisting of rubble stones and cas mortar was completely uncovered. A 0.27 m thick layer consisting of soil and rubble stones was removed in an area of 4.00 x 1.90 m on the better preserved northeastern part of the pool during soundings. Six courses of bricks and a few courses of rubble stone walls extending in the east-west direction were discovered during excavations. Following the cleaning of 0.70 m of debris, it was found that the wall remains actually belonged to the graves. After the cleaning work of graves, the stratigraphical work was resumed, and a depth of 1.20 m was reached under the pool’s floor. Since there were no finds other than rubble stones at 2.35 m depth from the surface along with the pool depth, sounding work was terminated .

Sounding IV Serpire (Köprü Başı) Masjid

There are remains of a small masjid within the borders of Kesme Köprü III Village called “Karşı Yaka (The Opposite Shore)” of Hasankeyf in the area between the Artuqid Hammam and the Artuqid Bridge, which was told to be used until 1950’s, but collapsed during those years by a flood of the Tigris River. The building is commonly known as Köprübaşı (Serpire) Masjid, and excavations were initiated to uncover its architectural characteristics and original construction date.

The excavations yielded southeastern corner and eastern body wall of the masjid as well as a 0.92 m wide entrance gate. Following the discovery of the entrance, the floor and walls were traced and interior parts were cleaned which revealed transverse construction of the harim section measuring 7.50×3.65 m in dimension . Since the roof system of the masjid did not survive to date, excavations at the harim were terminated after uncovering the floor consisting of regular cut stones in a rectangular form . Following finalization of excavations performed in interiors, the western wall was unearthed by tracing the wall of external building, however it could not be identified since the exterior part of the northern wall of masjid has been destroyed. Regular cut stones as well as large and small crushed stones cemented with cas mortar were used for the entrance and courses of masonry in the masjid. Although the date of construction is unknown due to lack of data, it is believed to have been built during the Ottoman Period.

The Sounding Work at the Zeynel Bey Social Complex

Soundings and excavations were performed in squares B9 and C9 (Image) measuring 10.00 x10.00 m in dimension located to the southwest of the Zeynel Bey Tomb in order to have access to potential cultural heritage around the social complex, and make tests on geomagnetic and georadar soundings that have been previously ordered by our directorate. The excavations were performed in four different trenchs of B9 North, B9 South and C9 North, C9 South (Image), all measuring 4.00 x 9.00 m in size in the east–west direction in grids B9 and C9 .

The excavations with a focus on areas where intense georadar anomalies are detected yielded wall remains starting at a depth of 0.25 m and continuing to a depth of 0.53 m from the surface . As a result of excavations, part of the southern body wall of a building lying in the southeast-northwest direction was found. To the south of this body wall are three buildings with a rectangular plan that we have already uncovered. Considering location of the building, it is probably similar to the structures in the Zeynel Bey social complex. It is difficult to make any interpretation about the function of the structure since it is now only at the foundation level, however georadar results show that part of the remaining walls continue under the ground.