• Project name:

    Eski Mosul Dam Salvage Project

  • Type of site:



    Mosul region


    – Early Neolithic (9th millennium BC)

Most interesting finds:

– 10 circular houses built around a central square. Measuring from 2.7 m to 7 m in diameter, they were built of pisé and dried bricks and plastered. Benches were found inside.
– Stone tools: querns, grinders, cylindrical pestles, stone axes and slingshot projectiles

History of research:

Dates of PCMA mission’s work:


Type of research:

Salvage excavations


Stefan Karol Kozłowski

Co-operating institutions:

– Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw
– Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq

Description of the site and research:

The site is located approximately 35 km east of Mosul. It is a settlement from the Epipaleolithic period (9th millennium BC), contemporary with the Natufian period in Palestine and the Shanidar Cave in the Zagros Mountains. The small tell is 2–3 m high and measures 90 cm in diameter. Its northern and central parts are destroyed. In the southern part, two layers of compacted clay indicate two usage levels of the settlement. Ten circular and oval houses sunk into the ground were identified. Fire pits, clay benches and traces of plaster were found in some of them. In 1989, almost 600 flint artifacts were discovered in the fill of houses 3 and 4, while in the following excavation season, el-Khiam type points, among others, were unearthed.

The flint industry of M’lefaat shows many similarities to the Nemrik industry. The repertoire of tools is also analogous, although in M’lefaat they were present in fewer numbers. Stone objects and tools were also found at the site. In the younger phase, the settlement consisted of a central square surrounded by circular houses. These are the oldest known structures built of compacted clay and dried bricks.

Project bibliography:

Kozłowski, S. K., Lasota-Moskalewska, A., Mazurowski, R.F. (1998) M’lefaat, Early Neolithic site in Northern Iraq, Cahiers de l’Euphrate, 8, 179–273.

Kozłowski, S. K. (1996) From Zawi Chemi to M’lefaat, in: S.K. Kozłowski, H.G.K. Gebel (eds.) Neolithic Chipped Industries of the Fertile Crescent, and Their Contemporaries in Adjacent Regions, (pp. 175–182). Berlin: Ex oriente.

Kozłowski, S. K., Kuźma, K., Szymczak, K. (1991). La reprise de fouilles à M’lefaat, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean, 2, 112–118.

Kozłowski, S. K., Szymczak, K. (1991). Sprawozdanie z wykopalisk w M’lefaat, Centrum Archeologii Śródziemnomorskiej UW, Raporty wykopaliskowe, 2, 103–108.

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