The Neubauer Expedition to Zincirli is an archaeological project of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. With the generous financial support of the Neubauer Family Foundation, the Expedition is exploring an important Iron Age site in southern Turkey near the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. The Expedition has also received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
The site of Zincirli Höyük (latitude 37° 6' North, longitude 36° 40' East) contains the ruins of the ancient walled city of Sam’al, which was nestled in a fertile valley surrounded by heavily forested mountains. Three thousand years ago, at the time of the biblical kings of Israel, this 40-hectare (100-acre) settlement was the capital of a small but powerful kingdom that is documented in ancient inscriptions. The city had monumental palaces, massive outer walls, and ornate gates adorned with sculpted stone reliefs.
The Neubauer Expedition began work at Zincirli in 2006. A large multinational team of archaeologists and archaeology students digs there for two months each summer with the help of hired workers recruited from nearby villages. The goal is to excavate extensive areas in several different locations in and around the ancient city in order to gain new insights into the culture, society, and economy of the kingdom of Sam’al, and, by extension, other Iron Age kingdoms of the ancient Levant.
The Neubauer Expedition's director is Dr. David Schloen, who is an associate professor of archaeology in the Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of the University of Chicago.