The Modern Face of an Ancient City
Sustainable economic development of a Mesopotamian archaeological site
July 2011 – March 2012
Giorgio Buccellati, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, Los Angeles
Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, Cotsen Institute of Archeology, UCLA, Los Angeles
Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo, Director of CEIS - Centre for International Studies - University of Tor Vergata, Rome
Tell Mozan,ancient Urkesh
Ancient Urkesh is a large Mesopotamian city that flourished between 4000 and 1300 B.C., today located in eastern Syria. It was one of the earliest cities in the history of the world, and it had the distinction of proposing a different model of urbanization from the Sumerian one.
Excavations and Award
The excavations have been conducted by the UCLA archaeologists Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati since 1984.
The uncovered archaeological remains are:
the Temple of Kumarbi;
the Royal Palace;
the passage to the Netherworld;
a large number of artifacts and written texts.
January, 2011: the site received the Archaeological Institute of America first ever Award for Best Practices in Archaeological Site Preservation.
The excellent preservation of such ancient architecture,and the successful efforts at conserving it and presenting it to the public, are a reason why the project has high potential.
Digital Publication Program
|The excavations are documented by the Digital Publication Program, that confronts long standing problems of archaeological publishing, and exploits the true potential of the digital medium.|
|The website www.urkesh.org collects e-publications and data, and describes the conservation’s methodology applied in loco (the Urkesh Global Record).
|The Urkesh Eco-archaeological Park|
Starting from the excavations at this archaeological site, the plans envisage a large Eco-archaeological Park that will cover 54 km2 and include 20 modern villages.
|The area is conceived as a cultural district, where the heritage sites will be used as stepping stones for the creation of capabilities in integrated economic development, empowering local communities and planning preventive archaeology.
The Park is conceived as a cultural district and living experiment in the field of planned conservation and preventive archaeology
The new economic model is based on: (i) conservation as a part of an overall economic plan; (ii) concept of use and non-use value as key components; (iii) and uncertainty as one of the basic variables
The innovative archaeological approach proposes to study the entire area that revolved around the Park
The interdisciplinary dimension of the project aims to integrate the economic approach to management of heritage sites
The Park will be the first large scale interdisciplinary research project in the region, combining archaeologists, historians, architects, engineers and economists, on the complementary relation between archaeology, tourism, agriculture and local services
|The archaeological project aims to preserve the site by proposing pro-environmental actions, such as the following ones:
(1) strenghtening the national regulation
(2) attracting financial incentives
|The Environmental Conservation would avoid that the site is threatened by industrial structures, as it has happened to many other archaeological sites. Plans are under way for the development of the Park to be under the control of the Urkesh National Trust (UNT), a non-governmental agency.