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Activities of the Institute of Archaeological Sciences
and of the Centre for the Restoration of Monuments
in Baghdad


'Aqarquf. Detail of the ziqqurrat’s core
Project: Study of the ‘Aqarquf site and photogrammetric survey
of the ziqqurrat
Site: ‘Aqarquf
Director: Giorgio Gullini
ziqqurat survey
'Aqarquf. Photogrammetric survey of the ziqqurrat

‘Aqarquf, 20 km southwest of Baghdad, is the modern name of the site of ancient Dur-Kurigalzu, fortified city and residence of the kings of the Cassite dynasty in the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. The best-known artefacts of the city founded by Kurigalzu I (1415-1390 B.C.) include the remains of the three temples and of the palace, only partially unearthed and dominated by the massive ziqqurrat, the terraced building of the main temple. The remains of the monument, with a square base measuring 80 m on each side, still possess the thick baked brick covering that reaches a height of 8 m and the core made of unbaked bricks reaching a maximum height of 47 m. A ramp of stairs on the axis of the south side probably provided access to the terrace at the top, and two more ramps at the corners of the same side probably led to the first terrace.

'Aqarquf. General view of the Ziqqurrat

In 1968, the Centro Scavi’s Laboratory for Photogrammetry produced the photogrammetric survey of the four sides of the monument (C. Sena, Turin Polytechnic University). The distribution in the core structure, which still contains traces of straw mats, vegetable fibre ropes for distributing loads and ventilation conduits, deduced from the photogrammetric restitution graphs, allowed the levels of the three original terraces to be recognized; a temple was probably located at the top of the highest one. On the basis of the tapering of the preserved outer walls and of the stairs’ slope it was possible to complete, with a good degree of approximation, a reconstruction of the monument’s original appearance.

'Aqarquf. View of the ziqqurrat

On the basis of studies carried out on the ziqqurrat thanks to a complete photogrammetric survey, in 1975 proposals for the conservation of the precarious unbaked brick remains of the monument’s core were submitted to the Antiquities Department. Such proposals included the construction of a steel structure closed off by transparent elements that would reproduced the shapes and volumes of the ancient building as proposed by the relevant studies. The structure would have contained visitor’s passageways suspended to the main structures (R. Parapetti).