An 18th century castle sits on top of a mound. The sky is bright blue and the castle is bathed in orange light.
Mound and 19th Century castle, Qala Shirwana. ©

Sirwan Regional Project

We are pleased to award the Archaeological practice and heritage protection in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq project £301,178.

This project will monitor site damage to the archaeological heritage of Garmian, increase the capacity of local heritage professionals, and engage local communities with their heritage.

Archaeological heritage in Garmian

Hundreds of archaeological sites, spanning 10,000 years, can be found in the Garmian region. Mounds have grown over time from people living and rebuilding in the same place for generations. Each mound holds buried structures, offering valuable insights into human history. Qala Sirwana is the largest mounded site in the region, topped by a 19th century mudbrick castle, and is the region's most famous attraction.

Damage to the sites is evident; military activities have severely damaged many prominent mounds and many sites are subject to looting. Documenting and monitoring site damage will protect the internationally important cultural heritage of Iraq and lead to better protection in the future

An integrated archaeological practice

Building on the Sirwan Regional Project, this project aims to document and monitor archaeological site damage in the region; build capacity among local archaeologists and heritage professionals through skills workshops and field training; and create a sustainable framework for heritage in the region.

Creating a geo-database of archaeological sites in the region, including detailed visual evidence, will inform recommendations for the protection of the sites. Through a series of engagement activities with teachers and local communities, including the creation of dedicated spaces in two museums,  people will have an improved understanding of archaeological cultural heritage and its value.

About University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world.

The research in the archaeology department ranges from Greenland to Kurdistan, and from the Palaeolithic to the present day. Within that range, the department has particular research strengths in material culture, landscape, engagement archaeology, Scotland and the North Atlantic, the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, and the early historic period.

Project partners

  • Directorate of Antiquities, Suleymaniyah Governorate
  • Dartmouth College
  • The Institute for Heritage and Sustainable Human Development (INHERIT), part of York Archaeological Trust for Research and Excavation Ltd