Members of the Department of Archaeology/Mentica Project are proud to support the renovation of the prehistory gallery at the Slemani Museum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Supported by a grant from the US Consulate Erbil, the Slemani Museum project will provide structural repairs to the Museum, damage caused by earthquake activity in 2017, and support new displays for the exceptional prehistoric collection held by the museum. The Slemani Museum houses the only prehistory gallery in Iraq and holds collections from famous sites including Palaeolithic Barda Balka, Epipalaeolithic Zarzi, and Neolithic Jarmo. The redevelopment project is a collaboration between the Sulaimani Directorate of Antiquities, the Slemani Museum, the Digital Cultural Heritage Research Group at Sulaimani Polytechnic University, and RASHID International, with the University of Reading providing key advice on gallery content and design. This forms a pilot project for a planned museum-wide renovation in future.


Roger Matthews, Wendy Matthews and Amy Richardson took part in a press conference on 20th December, led by Director of the Slemani Museum Hashim Hama Abdullah, to announce plans for the gallery development and for the ERC MENTICA Project’s excavations at Epipalaeolithic Zarzi Cave and the Early Neolithic settlement of Bestansur over the next five years. The new gallery will focus on key themes: becoming human, creating communities, and connecting communities, providing context for artefacts from 150,000 to 7,000 years ago. The gallery aims to explore a deep-time perspective on global challenges and to examine how communities faced these issues in the past, including environmental change, food security, health and the built environment, technology and innovation, and trade and exchange before the Silk Roads.

You can see excerpts from the press conference at the link below: