al-Jazira (Northern Mesopotamia). The Jazira links the old Umayyad heartland, Syria, and the new Abbasid core lands in Iraq. It was mainly Christian but with pockets of pagan Sabians and an active Jewish community. It rose first to importance when the Umayyad caliph Marwan situated his residence in the pagan-Sabian city Harran. Later al-Mansur transferred a large Khurasanian garrison into the Jazira and built for them a large fortified city, al-Rafiqa which became the residence of the caliph Harun al-Rashid. The importance of the region lies in its strategic position and its role as the bread basket for the metropolises Baghdad and Samarraʾ (Heidemann 2011). The region saw a number of Islamic millenarian ʿAlid uprisings from the waning of the Umayyads to the eleventh century. For a long time al-Raqqa/al-Rafiqa served as the capital of the western half of the empire. The PI is involved in a number of excavations in al-Raqqa (German Archaeological Institute, University of Nottingham) (Heidemann – Becker 2003a), Harran (School of Oriental and African Studies, London), Hisn Maslama (Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin), Kharab Sayyar/Jarūd (Frankfurt University) (Heidemann 2003b), and al-Rusafa (German Archaeological Institute/Technical University Berlin).