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Archaeological campaigns

Following the discovery and the first excavations at the Iron Age settlement associated with and surrounding Husn Salut, now consistently named “Qaryat Salut” and tagged as SLQ, a long campaign of field work took place between January, 14th, and April, 19th, 2016.
Principal aims of the campaign were an evaluation of the site’s extension, together with a more accurate investigation of few contexts in order to get a better idea of the general stratigraphy.
As a consequence of the substantial enlargement of the excavated areas, of their increased number, and of the widened scope of the project, some renaming took place with respect to the one adopted in the initial phases of last campaign and used in the 2015B preliminary report.
Nine large trenches were either enlarged from previous season or opened for the first time. They are listed as Trench 1 to 9 (tr1, tr2 etc.). As time did not allow the complete extensive excavation of all of them, smaller soundings were opened were appropriate inside them which were named as trn_s1, trn_s2 etc.
The extension of the site was tested with the excavation of eight soundings located outside the main trenches, listed as s-ext1 to s-ext8.
Finally, s-mus1 to s-mus5 were excavated to test the archaeological remains in the area of a modern farm to the west of the site.
Structures were also listed in a new, unitary list, and this will result in some discrepancy with the former report.
Substantial architecture was discovered. Further portions of the terrace system on the hill’s slopes, namely the eastern, were unearthed, and the long north fortification wall of the settlement completely revealed in its plan.
Noteworthy is the discovery of more rooms in the flat area to the east of the hill, adjacent to the one already discovered in 2015, the majority of which had a mudbrick floor.
Further works concerned testing the archaeological potential of two areas that may be involved in the future development of the archaeological park and visitors’ centre, one located in the lower hills east of the site, and the other corresponding to the farm standing to the southwest of it. Both showed no presence of archaeological remains, although the Iron Age soil was clearly present in the farm area.
During this campaign, the mission’s geoarchaeologist Prof. Cremaschi joined the field work with a focus on rock art and ancient irrigation features. Besides, the publication work for Husn Salut materials and stratigraphy is continuing, the study of animal bones from the so-called basement was started by L. Strolin.
A further long campaign of field work took place between September 17th and December 15th, 2016 at Qaryat Salut. Following the discoveries of the last two campaigns, the main goal was the accurate investigation of few contexts, with the aim of their thorough understanding.
The excavations were concentrated in the trench-6, with three deep soundings, in order to get a better idea of the stratigraphy and the different phases of construction of the rooms located in the north-eastern area.
Past excavations of the northern area of the site had revealed several burials from the Islamic period, insisting on the Iron Age levels. These were partially excavated and removed. Further works concerned the Building 13, located in the western area of the site, which shows a very long history of reuse from the Iron Age period to the 13th-14th century AD. Two jars and a well from the Late Iron Age phases were also discovered.
In addition to the works on the hill of Salut, two tombs located in the small hill at the foot of Jebel Salut, facing Husn Salut from the east, were excavated in relation to the project of the archaeological park of Salut. Here a dozen of collapsed tombs, presumably dating back to the Bronze Age, were chosen for investigation and subsequent restoration.
The archaeological investigation has been integrated with the study of animal bones from the so-called basement, and restoration works, mainly concentrated on Husn Salut, to preserve the previous mudbricks restoration.
Download the archeological reports of SLQ2016A and SLQ2016B and the architectural report SL2016B