Settlement History and Urban Planning at Zincirli Höyük, Southern Turkey


  • Jesse Casana University of Arkansas
  • Jason T. Hermann University of Arkansas



Iron Age, Turkey, archaeo-geophysics, magnetic gradiometry, urbanism, Neo-Assyrian, ancient cities


This paper presents results of geophysical survey at Zincirli Höyük, a 40-hectare site in southern Turkey dating to the early first millennium bc. The site’s lower town offers ideal circumstances for magnetic gradiometry, and survey results from this area, combined with the results of excavations from the 1890s on the central high citadel, now reveal a nearly complete plan of the ancient city. The results therefore present a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between the production of urban space and the social and historical forces that drove it. Our evidence from Zincirli strongly suggests a pattern of distributed authority in creating the built environment of the city, whereby the king and his administrators planned and constructed the circular walls, streets, and citadel, but according to which individual elite households were probably left to plan and build their own residential compounds. The spatial relationships of these features raise important questions regarding social organization at Iron Age Zincirli. The results also offer a model for understanding the unique spatiality of new cities that were founded throughout Syria and Anatolia during the early first millennium and highlight the relationship of Zincirli to these and other planned cities of the ancient Near East.

Author Biographies

Jesse Casana, University of Arkansas

Jesse Casana is an Associate Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. His research explores settlement history, land use practices, and humanenvironment relationships in the ancient Near East. He specializes in regional archaeological survey, archaeological remote sensing and geoarchaeology, and currently directs field projects in Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Jason T. Hermann, University of Arkansas

Jason T. Herrmann is a doctoral candidate in the Environmental Dynamics Program at the University of Arkansas and an affiliate of the University’s Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies. He specializes in the use of remote sensing methods in archaeology and his research explores the relationship between ancient humans and the environment. He has conducted archaeogeophysical research in the Middle East, Bolivia, and throughout the United States.



How to Cite

Casana, J., & Hermann, J. T. (2010). Settlement History and Urban Planning at Zincirli Höyük, Southern Turkey. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 23(1), 55–80.