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Chemchemal (district) • چەمچەماڵ • جمجمال • Çemçemał

The Chemchemal intermontane plain lies between the Kani Domlan-Jebal Tasak and the Kani Shaitan Hasan-Sagirma ridges and is about 15 km wide and 60 km long, with its axis northwest to southeast.This region was badly affected under the previous regime more than 100,000 was killed and disappeared during the Anfal Campaign. By the main road from Kirkuk, it is about 45 km to the town of Chemchemal itself, which lies in the northwest center of the valley and approximately on the valley's northwest-southeast watershed. The land surface of the valley consists of broad stretches of silt, occasionally interrupted by minor ridges of exposed bedrock, but the broad green fields of the silt surface are seriously dissected by deep wadis the which drain the higher slopes of either ridge. A few of these wadis have perennial streams; most of them have springs or pools which are also perennial sources of water. Sites include Jarmo, Kani Sur, Khora Namik, Kharaba Qaraba Chiwar, Tell Sargarden, Tell Ibrahim Aga.

Cham Bazar
Cham Bazar is a site where the main Chemchemal and Jarmo tributaries of the Tauq Chai join, some three miles southeast of Chemchemal. Hand axes and flake tools like those from Barda Balka were found.

Barda Balka
Barda Balka (~ 35° 33' N, 44° 52' E ; about 2250 feet above sea level) is immediately south of the Chemchemal-Sleimani road and 2 miles northeast of Chemchemal, in the rolling country flanking a major tributary wadi of the Chemchemal branch of the headwaters of the Tauq Chai. Barda Balka was located by Dr. Naji al-Asil and Sayid Fuad Safar during a survey by the Directorate General of Antiquities in 1949 (Asil, 1949). In 1951, Howe and Wright excavated it on behalf of the directorate (Wright and Howe, 1951). Barda Balka is an open-air site with its stone tools contained in certain specific Pleistocene gravels on a hilltop and in part consolidated within the breccia of a peculiar natural columnar remnant of this same gravel system which first drew attention to the locality. Three days of soundings were conducted and unearthed core-biface tools of Acheulean type, pebble tools and utilized flakes. This is certainly the earliest paleolithic material yet excavated in Iraq. Two other sites with similar assemblages were encountered in the Chemchemal Valley, lying on the surface and weathered out from similar gravels. Also, at Cham Bazar there were found hand axes and flake tools. Hand axes also appeared on a slope immediately adjacent to Jarmo.

Telegraph Pole 26/22
Surface collections from gravels at Telegraph Pole 26/22, located just west of Chemchemal, unearthed a coarse Mousterian assemblage much like that at Serandur and gravels near Kirkuk.

Kowri Khan
Kowri Khan is located on a small ridgelike hill which forms a promontory between two branches of the Cham Chalga (the wadi which flows below Chalga village), less than 1.5 miles west of Jarmo. A small ruined khan (probably an Ottoman outpost, several centuries old at most) lies on a lower hill just south of the ridge. Like Turkaka, another Jarmo-area site, the surface scatter consisted of flint blades and bladelets, with no later material. It is possible that Turkaka and Kowri Khan are slightly older than Karim Shahir.

Karim Shahir
Roughly a mile east of Jarmo, on the right bank of the Cham-Gawra, which flows below Jarmo; elevation above sea level is approximately 800 meters. The area with marked surface indication of settlement at Karim Shahir measures ~ 60 x 70 m. Karim Shahir has a relatively thin occupation level, virtually coincident with the present surface on the crest of the rise, and with a thin slope-wash over which reaches 30cm in thickness on the down-slope side of the excavations.

Findings from Karim Shahir are predominantly flint-blade, but there are some ground stone objects, and the thinness of the deposit suggests that it was not a village-farming community but rather a temporary encampment (or a series of recurrent encampments) of somewhat earlier times. Of a period at least as early, and located also in the Jarmo vicinity, are Turkaka and Kowri Khan.

Located on a hill above the left bank of the Cham-Gawra, about half a mile northeast of Jarmo, is Turkaka. The crown of the hill is not quite as extensive in area as that of Jarmo; it is crescent-shaped about a little wadi which heads in a small spring in a rock overhang. Of a range at least as early as Karim Shahir is Turkaka, located in September 1950 by Braidwood and Howe. Turkaka yielded a surface scatter of certain flint blade tools and microliths.

Tell Ibrahim Aga
Fragments of coarse pottery of Hassunan type were found on the talus wash of two larger mounds northwest of Chemchemal, Tell Sargarden and Tell Ibrahim Aga.

Tell Sargarden
Fragments of coarse pottery of Hassunan type were found on the talus wash of two larger mounds northwest of Chemchemal, Tell Sargarden and Tell Ibrahim Aga, indicating that some aspect of the Hassunan phase was not entirely restricted to the piedmont zone.

Kani Sur
Less than a mile south of Jarmo, Kani Sur has yielded surface material approximately parallel to that from Jarmo.

Khora Namiq
About 5 km northeast of Chemchemal, Khora Namiq has yielded surface material approximately parallel to that from Jarmo. It has been subject to just a surface survey.