The current understanding of Mesopotamian urban systems has been substantially enhanced by a series of wide-ranging archaeological surveys during the past three decades. The study of Mesopotamian society, as with most historical civilizations, offers special challenges to the survey archaeologist. A long tradition of philological inquiry has contributed to the current state of knowledge and must not be overlooked in future work. For Mesopotamia, probably the greatest achievements in survey archaeology are the works of Robert McC. Adams. They serve here as the reference point for a discussion of the current state of surveying in Mesopotamia. The first part of this article addresses several general issues confronting the survey archaeologist. Questions of the scale of the research project, the intensity of covering the landscape, and the adequate identification of the materials that are discovered all must be carefully evaluated in planning a survey. In the second half of the article three general recommendations are made that I believe must be incorporated into the next ‘ ‘generation’ ’ of archaeological surveys.
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