Publications

2013
TJ Wilkinson, Jason A Ur, and Carrie Hritz. 2013. “Settlement Archaeology of Mesopotamia.” In Models of Mesopotamian Landscapes: How Small-Scale Processes Contributed to the Growth of Early Civilizations, edited by TJ Wilkinson, McGuire Gibson, and Magnus Widell, Pp. 34-55. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Jason A Ur. 2013. “Spying on the Past: Declassified Intelligence Satellite Photographs and Near Eastern Landscapes.” Near Eastern Archaeology, 76, Pp. 28-36. Publisher's Version
2012
Jason A Ur. 2012. “Landscapes of Movement in the Ancient Near East.” In Proceedings of the 7th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 12-16 April 2010, the British Museum and UCL, London, Volume 1, edited by Matthews, Roger and John Curtis, Pp. 521-538. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.Abstract
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Bjoern H Menze and Jason A Ur. 2012. “Mapping Patterns of Long-Term Settlement in Northern Mesopotamia at a Large Scale.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The landscapes of the Near East show both the first settlements and the longest trajectories of settlement systems. Mounding is a characteristic property of these settlement sites, resulting from mil­lennia of continuing settlement activity at distinguished places. So far, however, this defining feature of ancient settlements has not received much attention, or even been subject of systematic evalu­ation. We propose a remote sensing approach for comprehensively mapping the pattern of human settlement at large scale and establish the largest archaeological record for a landscape in Mesopotamia, mapping about 14,000 settlement sites – spanning eight millennia – at 15 m resolution in a 23,000 km2 area in north-eastern Syria. To map both low-and high-mounded places – the latter of which are often referred to as “tells” – we develop a strategy for detect­ing anthrosols in time series of multi-spectral satellite images and measure the volume of settlement sites in a digital elevation model. Using this volume as a proxy to continued occupation, we find a dependency of the long-term attractiveness of a site on local wa­ter availability, but also a strong relation to the relevance within a basin-wide exchange network that we can infer from our record and 3rd millennium BC inter-site routes visible on the ground until recent times. We believe it is possible to establish a nearly compre­hensive map of human settlements in the fluvial plains of northern Mesopotamia and beyond, and site volume may be a key quantity to uncover long-term trends in human settlement activity from such a record.

Jason A. Ur. 2012. “Southern Mesopotamia.” In A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, edited by Daniel T. Potts, Pp. 533-555. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell. Publisher's Version
Jason A Ur. 2012. “Spatial Scale and Urban Evolution at Tell Brak and Hamoukar at the End of the 3rd Millennium BC.” In Looking North: The Socio-Economic Dynamics of the Northern Mesopotamian and Anatolian Regions during the Late Third and Early Second Millennium BC, edited by Nicola Laneri, Peter Pfälzner, and Stefano Valentini, Pp. 25-35. Tübingen University.Abstract
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2011
Jason A Ur. 2011. “Ancient Landscapes in Southeastern Anatolia.” In Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolian Studies, edited by Sharon R Steadman and Gregory McMahon, Pp. 836-857. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Abstract
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Carlo Colantoni and Jason A Ur. 2011. “The Architecture and Pottery of a Late 3rd Millennium BC Residential Quarter at Tell Hamoukar, Northeastern Syria.” Iraq, 73, Pp. 21-69. Publisher's Version
Jason A Ur. 2011. “The Myth of Isolated Civilizations (Review of What Makes Civilization? The Ancient Near East and the Future of the West by David Wengrow).” Current Anthropology, 52, Pp. 607-608.Abstract
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Bjoern H Menze and Jason A Ur. 2011. “Detection of Early Settlements in the Central Tigris Region by Classifying Multi-Spectral Satellite Imagery: A Remote Sensing Approach to Map Early Settlements in the Near East.” In Between the Cultures: The Central Tigris Region in Mesopotamia from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC, edited by Peter Miglus and Simone Mühl, Pp. 361-367. Heidelberg: Heidelberger Orientverlag.
Jason A Ur, Philip Karsgaard, and Joan Oates. 2011. “The Spatial Dimensions of Early Mesopotamian Urbanism: The Tell Brak Suburban Survey, 2003-2006.” Iraq, 73, Pp. 1-19. Publisher's Version
2010
Jason A Ur and Carlo Colantoni. 2010. “The Cycle of Production, Preparation, and Consumption in a Northern Mesopotamian City.” In Inside Ancient Kitchens: New Directions in the Study of Daily Meals and Feasts, edited by Elizabeth Klarich, Pp. 55-82. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.Abstract
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Jason A Ur. 2010. “Cycles of Civilization in Northern Mesopotamia, 4400-2000 BC.” Journal of Archaeological Research, 18, Pp. 387-431.Abstract
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TJ Wilkinson, Charles French, Jason A Ur, and Miranda Semple. 2010. “The Geoarchaeology of Route Systems in Northern Syria.” Geoarchaeology, 25, Pp. 745-771.Abstract
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Nicola Laneri and Jason A Ur. 2010. “The Hirbemerdon Tepe Archaeological Project 2008: A Preliminary Report.” 31. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, Pp. 213-229.Abstract
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Jason A Ur. 2010. “Landscapes of Settlement and Movement in Northeastern Syria”. Publisher's VersionAbstract
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Urbanism and Cultural Landscapes in Northeastern Syria: The Tell Hamoukar Survey, 1999-2001
Jason A. Ur. 2010. Urbanism and Cultural Landscapes in Northeastern Syria: The Tell Hamoukar Survey, 1999-2001. Chicago: University of Chicago Oriental Institute. Open Access Publisher's VersionAbstract

Tell Hamoukar is one of the largest Bronze Age sites in northern Mesopotamia. The present volume presents the results of three seasons of field survey and remote-sensing analysis at the site and its region. These studies were undertaken to address questions of urban origins, land use, and demographic trends through time. Site descriptions and settlement histories are presented for Hamoukar and fifty-nine other sites in its immediate hinterland over the last 8,000 years. The project paid close attention to the "off-site" landscape between sites and considered aspects of agricultural practices, land tenure, and patterns of movement. For each phase of occupation, the patterns of settlement and land use are contextualized within larger patterns of Mesopotamian history, with particular attention to the proto-urban fifth millennium B.C., the Uruk Expansion of the fourth millennium BC, the height of urbanism in the late third millennium, the impact of the Assyrian empire in the early first millennium BC, and the Abbasid landscape of the late first millennium AD.

The volume also includes a description of the unparalleled landscape of tracks in the Upper Khabur basin of Hassake province, northeastern Syria. Through analysis of CORONA satellite photographs, over 6,000 kilometers of premodern trackways were identified and mapped, mostly dating to the late third millennium and early Islamic periods. This area of northern Mesopotamia is thus one of the best-preserved ancient landscapes of movement in the world.

The volume's appendices describe the sixty sites, their surface assemblages, and the survey's ceramic typology.

2009
Jason A Ur. 2009. “Emergent Landscapes of Movement in Early Bronze Age Northern Mesopotamia.” In Landscapes of Movement: Paths, Trails, and Roads in Anthropological Perspective, edited by James E Snead, Clark Erickson, and Andrew W Darling, Pp. 180-203. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum Press.Abstract
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Jason A Ur and Emily L Hammer. 2009. “Pastoral Nomads of the Second and Third Millennia AD on the Upper Tigris River, Turkey: Archaeological Evidence from the Hirbemerdon Tepe Survey.” Journal of Field Archaeology, 34, Pp. 37-56.Abstract
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2008
Nicola Laneri, Mark Schwartz, and Jason A Ur. 2008. “The Hirbemerdon Tepe Archaeological Project.” Antiquity, Project Gallery.Abstract
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