2011 US Fellows

John Bowlus, History, Georgetown University

Kirkuk-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and Oil Transportation in the Middle East, 1957–1977”

In the aftermath of the Suez crisis in 1957, Western governments, oil companies, and the Iraqi government attempted to build a pipeline from Kirkuk, in the oil fields of northern Iraq, to Ceyhan, a Mediterranean port in southern Turkey. However, the pipeline remained unconstructed until 1977. Bowlus will conduct research in archives in England and France to complement archival research in Washington, D.C., and Turkey in order to trace the history of the Kirkuk–Ceyhan Oil Pipeline. The project will shed light on the significance of oil transportation and oil-transit states in the history of the Middle East. 

Jean Evans, Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College

The Lives of Sumerian Sculpture”

Evans will revise for publication her book-length study presently entitled The Lives of Sumerian Sculpture. This study provides an object biography of temple sculpture from Early Dynastic Sumer (present-day southern Iraq; ca. 2900–2350 B.C.). It critiques earlier interpretations of and provides new perspectives on the hundreds of statues of human figures brought to temples and dedicated as gifts for the gods by individuals who, although an elite class, were not royal. The study promises to change the current understanding of the relationship of the image to the divine and to the original donor and will allow us to think dynamically about the society of Early Dynastic Mesopotamia.

 Carrie Hritz, Archaeology, Penn State University

Cities in the Marsh: Settlement and Land Use in the Former Marshes of Southern Iraq”

In the late 1990s, Iraqi governmental projects drained the marshes of southern Iraq and relocated its inhabitants. The draining revealed entire relict landscapes on the surface in the form of archaeological tell sites, channels, and agricultural fields. Hritz will use remote sensing datasets and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology integrated with past archaeological survey and excavation data to reconstruct ancient settlement and land use systems in the marshes, particularly the Hawr al-Hammar. The study will not only provide insight on marsh resource exploitation in early cities, but will also detect archaeological sites and features before they return to the hidden landscape once water is present again in the marshes.

 Matt Saba, Art History, University of Chicago

The Dar al-Khilafa of Samarra: Architecture, Ornament and the Aesthetics of Wonder in Abbasid Iraq

Saba’s project focuses on the assemblage of artifacts excavated from the Dār al-Khilāfa palace at Samarra, the capital of the Abbasid Dynasty of Iraq from A.D. 836–892. Although the Dār al-Khilāfa is the largest excavated residence of the Abbasids, no comprehensive studies of the building have been done. Additionally, the significance of its form and ornamental program to audiences in Abbasid Iraq remains unclear. Through extended research of finds from the palace that are housed in Berlin and London, Saba will reconstruct and describe the fragmented ornamental program of the Dār al-Khilāfa. The study, which draws on both artifacts and texts, illuminates the development of what Saba calls the “aesthetics of wonder” in Abbasid Samarra. For additional information on this project, see “The Architectural Ornament of Samarra Revisited” by Matt Saba in the Fall 2012 TAARII Newsletter, Issue 07-02.

 Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt, History, Stanford University

The End of the Concessionary Regime: Oil and American Power in Iraq, 1958–1972

Building on the findings of his dissertation, Wolfe-Hunnicutt will conduct archival research in England and Lebanon on a group of Iraqi technical experts that played an important role in the social process that culminated in the 1972 nationalization of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), a consortium of western multinationals. His research explores the relationship between technical expertise and political power, and contributes to our understanding of the history and politics of oil development in Iraq.


These fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through a sub-grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.