A new set of photographs, recording in detail the two groups of sculptured reliefs at Gunduk in North Iraq, were obtained by the Directorate-General of Antiquities in the autumn of 1947. Prompted by these, H.E. Sayyid Tawfiq Wahbi, has written the following interesting notes on the possible implications of these rock-carvings, whose date and general significance have till now remained enigmatic.
His Excellency, who has for many years shown signs of the most active interest in the social anthropology as well as the antiquities of the northern liwas, has suggested an interpretation of their function and symbolism, which will be seen by archaeologists to merit serious consideration. He has in fact associated the purpose of the sculptures with primitive superstition of the kind defned by Sir James Frazer as homoeopathic magic,' and has elaborated his contention by the enumeration and description of some pertinent rituals practised by the Kurds of the present day. These in themselves are of great interest, as so little research of an anthropological character has, till now, been achieved among the Kurdish people. Those familiar with the subject will have no difficulty in recognising some old fertility rituals in a new form, while his rain ceremonies make an interesting comparison with that recorded at Khorsabad by Franfort (Iraq Vol. 1 No. 1).
His Excellency’s identification of the various figures in the first sculptured group, does not always agree with those of previous visitors to the site, but their state of preservation makes some speculation permissible. As to the dating of the carvings, some caution is necessary in accepting the inference that one of the two groups belongs to a period when agriculture was in its infancy; and one would be more inclined, like Bachmann, to suspect that excavations in the mound adjoining the sculptures would reveal traces of an historic period to which both groups could be more safely attributed.