2004 Grant Recipient
Assur, home of the likenamed god, ranks among the most famous cities of ancient Mesopotamia. It was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Situated approximately 60 miles south of modern Mossul on the western bank of the river Tigris, Assur gained importance as a center for long distance trade in the early second millenium BCE. During the later second and the early first millenia BCE, Assur became the capital of the Middle- and Neo-Assyrian empires. Even, after the empire's capital was moved to Nimrud and later to Nineveh, Assur remained the focus of religious activity. Its destruction in 614 BCE, during the final years of the Neo-Assyrian empire, is often considered the end of its glorious history. Nevertheless, in large scale excavations (1903-1914) the Deutsche OrientGesellschaft unearthed temples, private quarters and tombs dating from the Arsacid period (in Mesopotamia: 141 BCE - 228 CE) throughout the city. Together with stelae of local governors they attest to Assur's renewed significance in the first centuries CE.