A Joint Research Project Between TIU and Oregon State University

Tishk International University (TIU) in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Oregon State University (OSU), USA, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on a joint scientific project. The project aims to locate “natural clays” as raw materials potentially used by ancient potters within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and characterize their chemical and mineral composition. The project intends to characterize and map the physiochemical properties of surface soils in Kurdistan using remote sensing datasets and techniques, which will assist in archaeological surveys of natural clays.

To enhance ceramic provenance research, the project’s second archaeology objective is to document the magnitude and patterning of variations in clay composition concerning geological, topographical, and drainage aspects of the terrain in the Kurdistan region. The project will fund soil sampling from 250 sites in the Kurdistan region and laboratory analyses utilizing Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA), which assesses the content of trace and primary elements in the soils. The project’s fund amounts to $3,000 for soil sampling, shipping, and the INAA analyses at OSU’s laboratories. The project will be completed in five stages and five zones over more than one year (June 1st 2022 – December 13th 2023). In addition, a postgraduate student from the Kurdistan Region at OSU will join a short-term training course on using INAA for soil sample analysis.