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Seleucia on the Tigris

The ruins of Seleucia (Digital Globe)
Project: Research in Seleucia on the Tigris
Site: Seleucia on the Tigris
Scientific directors: G. Gullini, A. Invernizzi
Excavation directors: G. Graziosi, A. Invernizzi, M. M. Negro Ponzi, E. Valtz

The ruins of Seleucia, which to this day extend over a vast area of approximately 550 hectares, lie almost completely unexplored on the right bank of the present course of the Tigris, approximately 30 km south of Baghdad, at the foot of a large artificial hill approximately 13 m high, at the city’s southern limits, Tell ‘Omar.

Satellite image of the ruins of Seleucia (Digital Globe)

Activities on the ground began thanks to an archaeological mission of the University of Michigan and of the Museums of Toledo and Cleveland, which from 1927 to 1937, after performing several soundings in various parts of the city, extensively studied one of the inhabitative blocks (Block G6), however reaching only part of the Seleucid levels due to the water table that that still extends under Seleucia and the surrounding area.

Seleucia: sketch of a burial site, from the excavation diaries
Seleucia on the Tigris. Sketch of a burial site, from the excavation diaries

Equally important, more than 20 years later, were the topographical survey and excavation campaigns with which the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino inaugurated its field research activities. The results of the topographical survey and the preliminary reports of those excavations were published by G. Gullini, A. Invernizzi, M. M. Negro Ponzi and E. Valtz, in the journal Mesopotamia, conceived and published in order to publicize the results of the Turin Centre’s research.