Chamchamal (Kurdish: Çemçemall چه‌مچه‌ماڵ‎, Arabic جمجمال, ) is a town located in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraq and it is nearest town to the disputed territories of Northern Iraq .

A Chamchamal town center view, 2009
Chamchamal is located in Iraqi Kurdistan
Chamchamal is located in Iraq
Coordinates: 35°32′0″N 44°50′0″E / 35.53333°N 44.83333°ECoordinates: 35°32′0″N 44°50′0″E / 35.53333°N 44.83333°E
Country Iraq
Autonomous region Kurdistan
ProvinceSulaymaniyah Governorate
 • Total65,300

Population and location

The city is a 30 minutes drive east from Kirkuk and an hour west of Sulaymaniyah.[1] The population was 58,000 in 2003.[1] The Population in 2018 was 65,300 including Arabs.


Kurdish Sorani and laki is spoken by most inhabitants.


The city has a historic citadel, and early Western observers of the region speculated that it has been inhabited since the Sassanid period.[2] The Chamchamal valley is also home to important paleolithic sites of Jarmo and Zarzi.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Letter From Chamchamal, Iraq — March 17, 2003". Poynter. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  2. ^ "Historic landmarks under threat in Chamchamal, Iraqi Kurdistan". 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  3. ^ (UNESCO), Sanz, Nuria (2015-09-07). Human origin sites and the World Heritage Convention in Eurasia. UNESCO Publishing. ISBN 9789231001079.
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Barda Balka

Barda Balka is an archeological site near the Little Zab and Chamchamal in the north of modern-day Iraq.The site was discovered on a hilltop in 1949 by Sayid Fuad Safar and Naji al-Asil from the Directorate General of Antiquities, Iraq. It was later excavated by Bruce Howe and Herbert E. Wright in 1951. Stone tools were found amongst a particular layer of Pleistocene gravels that dated to the late Acheulean period. The tools included pebble tools, bifaces and lithic flakes that were suggested to be amongst the oldest evidence of human occupation in Iraq. They were found comparable with tools known to have been made around eighty thousand years ago.

Similar material was found in other locations around the Chemchemal valley.A Neolithic megalith is also located at the centre of the site around which the tools were found.

Bisitun Cave

Bisitun Cave (also called "Hunter's cave", Bisotun [Farsi], Bisetoun [Kurdish], Bisitoun, or Behistoun) is an archaeological site of prehistoric human habitation in the Zagros Mountains in the Kermanshah province, north-west Iran. Bisitun Cave is one of five caves situated at the base of The Rock of Bisitun, a 1300m high cliff within the Chamchamal Plain. It was first excavated in 1949 by Carlton Coon, and is notable for the discovery of Mousterian stone tools of the Middle Paleolithic, as well as the remains of 109 identifiable species of Pleistocene mammals, and hominid remains.Dibble described the stone tools as having strong Levallois components. All artefacts are apparently from the same period.

It has not been possible to discern a geological age of the Middle Paleolithic levels at Bisitun Cave. However, the relative abundance of Cervus in the deposits suggests a nearby woodland, and such vegetation is indicative of a warmer later Pleistocene phase. In Southwestern Asia in general, the Middle Paleolithic falls between the Later Middle Pleistocene (Marine Isotope Stage 6/7) and the middle of the Last Glacial (mid Marine Isotope Stage-3). Therefore the age of Bisitun Cave is likely to fall within this period also.

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Chamchamal District is a district of the Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraq.

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Climate data for Chamchamal
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10.3
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 126
Former districts
Populated places


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